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Alabama AG says he can prosecute people who assist in abortion travel Out-Of-State

In a court filing on Monday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) contended that he had the authority to bring charges against anyone who arranged and assisted access to abortions outside of Alabama. 

The lawsuit against Marshall for his initial threats to criminalize those who provide transportation for people seeking legal abortions was filed last month by two women’s health centers and the Yellowhammer Fund, a group that offers funding and assistance to those seeking out-of-state abortions.

The Yellowhammer Fund claimed in the lawsuit that criminalizing those who support out-of-state abortion access would restrict their freedom of speech, expression, and travel. According to The Hill, they also said that they were compelled to halt their abortion fund due to their fear of legal action. In Alabama, abortions are nearly totally forbidden.

Marshall reacted to the claims made in the complaint in the court document that was filed on Monday by stating that people who supply transportation for out-of-state abortion access may be charged with “criminal conspiracy.” He cited Alabama law in support of his assertion, which says that “conspiracy formed in this state to do an act beyond the state, which, if done in this state, would be a criminal offense, is indictable and punishable in this state in all respects as if such conspiracy had been to do such act in this state.”

“An elective abortion performed in Alabama would be a criminal offense; thus, a conspiracy formed in the State to have that same act performed outside the State is illegal,” he said in the document.

Alabama AG says he can prosecute people who assist in abortion travel Out-Of-State
Alabama AG says he can prosecute people who assist in abortion travel Out-Of-State

In a later response to the complaint, Marshall disputed the assertion that such prosecution would violate free speech, claiming that “speech used to conduct a crime receives no constitutional protection.” He also requested that the judge throw the lawsuit out.

He stated in the petition that “the conspiracy is what is being punished, even if the final conduct never takes place.” That behavior is grounded in Alabama and is subject to Alabama’s prohibition authority.

A request for comment from HuffPost was not immediately answered by The Yellowhammer Fund.

One of the harshest anti-abortion laws in the nation, Alabama forbids abortion at any stage with the only exception of saving the mother’s life or health. According to Rolling Stone, some Republican state legislators are advocating for charges of murder and assault to be brought against those who have abortions.

According to NBC News, Idaho was the first state to enact legislation specifically criminalizing out-of-state travel for abortions, including helping others to do so. Other states, such as Oklahoma and Texas, where almost all abortions are prohibited, permit legal action against anyone who aid in access to abortions within their boundaries.



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