Praise Be: A Black Woman Just Stopped Alabama’s Abortion Ban

Photo: Julie Bennett (Getty Images)

A black U.S. District Court judge issued a temporary injunction on Alabama’s restrictive abortion law that stripped women of their reproductive rights. The law was set to go into effect on Nov. 15 until a black woman forced the state to pump its brakes.

The Robinson v. Marshall ruling—named for the plaintiff, Dr. Yashica Robinson, a black obstetrician-gynecologist in Huntsville, Ala.—is a victory for both sides. The order prevents abortion providers from facing up to 99 years in prison—halting Alabama’s white, male conservative legislature from imposing its will on women’s bodies. But it also gives anti-reproductive-rights Bible-thumpers what they wanted in the first place—a path to the Supreme Court.

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In May, Alabama governor and blackface aficionado Kay Ivey signed one of the harshest anti-abortion bills in history. The Human Life Protection Act stripped the state’s women of their right to have an abortion—even in cases of incest and rape—and charged physicians who performed abortions with Class A felonies, the highest criminal infraction in the state, punishable with a minimum 10-year sentence. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood sued along with Robinson to stop the legislation from taking effect.

District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction, which blocks the law while the case works its way through the courts, the Associated Press reports. While the ruling only addressed whether the ban should be temporarily stopped during the legal battle, Thompson noted that the “plaintiffs have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim.” Writing that the statute deprives women of due process, causes irreparable harm and violates Supreme Court precedent, the judge agreed with every argument made by the plaintiffs.

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“The court is persuaded that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in showing that the Act violates an individual’s constitutional right to obtain a pre-viability abortion, and thus that it violates her constitutional rights,” wrote Thompson.

“While we are relieved to learn that abortion will remain legal in Alabama for the foreseeable future, this changes nothing when it comes to the crisis marginalized communities have faced and will continue to face when it comes to accessing a termination,” said Amanda Reyes, Executive Director at Yellowhammer Fund in a statement to The Root. “Conservative lawmakers hope that the American public will forget about our state and those who remain unable to easily, quickly and affordably access safe abortion care even with the total abortion ban being put on hold.”

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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has already declared his intention is to ultimately take the case before the Supreme court and challenge Roe v. Wade.

Alabama is the sixth poorest state in America and the state ranks 45th in opportunity, 46th in health care and 50th in infant mortality. The infant mortality rate for black women in Alabama is almost twice the rate of white women.

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Under his eye.

Read the full ruling below:

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Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.