Justice Kagan warned us about what would happen when the Extreme Court overturned both Roe and Casey: “After this decision, some States may block women from traveling out of State to obtain abortions, or even from receiving abortion medications from out of State. Some may criminalize efforts, including the provision of information or funding, to help women gain access to other States’ abortion services.” (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 597 U.S. ___ (2022)
But, Beer Boi never thought it would happen because traveling out of state to seek an abortion would violate the “right to interstate travel.” “For example, may a State bar a resident of that State from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.“ (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 597 U.S. ___ (2022)
Now, it’s Alabama’s turn to “prosecute people who help women travel out of state for abortions .”
After the Dobbs decision, Alabama outlawed almost all abortions in the state. The Human Life Protection Act created a class A felony for performing abortions, which is punishable by up to life in prison.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that the state could charge people with conspiracy for helping women get abortions in other states.
AG Marshall’s filing stems from an earlier lawsuit against Marshall that was filed in July from two women’s health centers and Yellowhammer Fund, an organization which says it provides “financial and practical support for those who are pregnant and require assistance.” The plaintiffs argue that Marshall violated their constitutional rights by publicly stating that organizations which help pregnant women in Alabama get an abortion out of state could be criminally investigated.
“Alabama can no more regulate out-of-state abortions than another state can deem its laws legalizing abortions to apply to Alabama,” the Yellowhammer Fund lawsuit argues.Marshall is now asking Judge Myron Thompson to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that helping a woman avoid Alabama’s restrictions by facilitating an abortion elsewhere is a conspiracy.“
The conspiracy is what is being punished, even if the final conduct never occurs,” Marshall’s filing states. “That conduct is Alabama-based and is within Alabama’s power to prohibit.”
“If someone was promoting themselves out as a funder of abortions out of state, then that is potentially criminally actionable for us,” Marshall said. “One of the things we will do in working with local prosecutors is making sure that we fully implement this law. There’s nothing about that law that restricts any individual from driving across state lines and seeking an abortion in another place. However, I would say that if an individual held themselves out as an entity or a group that is using funds that they are able to raise to facilitate those visits, then that’s something we’re going to look at closely.”I
n his in his motion to dismiss, Marshall further argued the state can pursue charges because it has outlawed abortion.
“Though abortion may be legal elsewhere, it is plainly illegal pursuant to Ala. Code § 13A-4-4 for Plaintiffs to conspire with others to procure abortions that would be illegal in Alabama,” according to Marshall’s motion. “The criminal conduct is the agreement (the conspiracy) itself, which is conduct that occurs in Alabama that Alabama has every right to prosecute. Thus, the legality of abortion in other States is irrelevant to whether Alabama can prosecute a conspiracy formed in Alabama.”