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Alabama to ask Supreme Court to review abortion

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state’s effort to ban the most commonly used second trimester abortion procedure.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office asked the court Tuesday for an additional 30 days to file its petition for review.

Alabama lawmakers in 2016 voted to ban the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. A federal judge blocked the law as an unconstitutional restriction on abortion access. The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in August upheld the decision.

Politicians seeking to ban the procedure refer to it by the nonmedical term “dismemberment abortion.”

“The constitutionality of a state ban on dismemberment abortion is an important question of national significance. Litigation over similar abortion laws is pending in several other courts,” lawyers for Alabama wrote.

Courts have blocked similar laws in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in 2016 blocked enforcement of the Alabama law, saying the ban would cause Alabama women to lose access to abortion in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy because of the unavailability of other methods.

Alabama, with support from other conservative states, appealed the decision.

The 11th Circuit in August upheld Thompson’s decision, although Chief Judge Ed Carnes wrote that “dismemberment” is an accurate description for the procedure.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has described dilation and evacuation as the most common abortion procedure in the U.S. in the second trimester. According to court records in the case, 93 percent of abortions in Alabama occur before 15 weeks of pregnancy. For the seven percent of abortions that occur after 15 weeks, 99 percent of them are by dilation and evacuation.

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