Alabama AG tells court he has right to prosecute out-of-state abortion aid

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) argued in a court filing Wednesday that he can file criminal charges against people who assist those getting abortion care outside the state.

Marshall argued that people who organize travel for those leaving Alabama to receive an abortion, for example, may be participating in a “criminal conspiracy,” because abortion is illegal in the state. Alabama has one of the country’s most strict anti-abortion laws.

“The conspiracy is what is being punished, even if the final conduct never occurs,” Marshall wrote.  “That conduct is Alabama-based and is within Alabama’s power to prohibit.” 

The filing was in response to a lawsuit brought by abortion rights advocates who claim that Marshall’s threats infringe their rights of expression.

“Alabama can no more regulate out-of-state abortions than another state can deem its laws legalizing abortions to apply to Alabama,” abortion rights group the Yellowhammer Fund argued in the case.

Marshall wants the lawsuit dismissed, which will be decided at a hearing Tuesday.

Abortion is illegal in Alabama in nearly all circumstances, including those of rape or incest. State legislators are considering, but have not passed, a law that would allow those who have abortions to be prosecuted with murder.

Health providers also sued the attorney general last month after he explicitly threatened to investigate a provider on felony charges if they aid a person in receiving abortion care. 

The clinics suing in that case do not provide abortion care, but they said they are scared to even provide abortion-adjacent care such as counseling or directing women to websites where they could order abortion pills.

In a statement to The Hill last month, Marshall’s office said it “will continue to vigorously enforce Alabama laws protecting unborn life which include the Human Life Protection Act. That includes abortion providers conspiring to violate the Act.”

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top