US District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday barring the Human Life Protection Act from taking effect until the court resolves the case in full. The law was slated to go into effect next month.
In the 17-page opinion, Thompson wrote that the state’s abortion ban “violates the right of an individual to privacy, to make choices central to personal dignity and autonomy.” Thompson also stated that the ban “diminishes the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions.”
That will be the question at the heart of the case if Thompson affirms his ruling and sets up a Supreme Court appeal — a result Alabama officials said they were hoping for when they passed the law in the first place.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called Thompson’s ruling “not unexpected,” pointing to the bill’s aims of overturning the Supreme Court’s landmark cases Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the US in 1973, and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, one of the key opinions that upheld Roe in 1992.
“As we have stated before, the State’s objective is to advance our case to the US Supreme Court where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not prohibit states from protecting unborn children from abortion,” Marshall said in a statement.
The groups cheered Tuesday’s ruling.
“Today’s victory means people can still access the health care they need across Alabama — for now,” Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.
She said state legislators in Alabama and elsewhere were “putting people’s health and lives at risk in their attempts to ban abortion outright in this country.”
This story has been updated.
CNN’s Dan Berman contributed to this report.