On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, Judge Myron H. Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama granted a preliminary injunction in Robinson et al v. Marshall, a lawsuit challenging Alabama Act No. 2019-189. The statute imposes criminal liability on abortion providers for almost all abortions, whether completed or attempted, regardless of fetal viability. The preliminary injunction prevents enforcement of the statute only as applied to pre-viability abortions. The statute is set to go into effect on November 15, 2019.
California has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Northern California to challenge a new regulation the Trump administration plans to enact in order to block access to abortion and family planning services. Specifically, the case seeks to enjoin new rules adopted under Title X of the Public Health Service Act, a family planning program funded by the federal government. Oregon, Washington, and approximately 20 other states are expected to file suit as well.
Last week, the federal government issued a rule to withhold federal funding for family planning from groups that provide abortions or abortion referrals. To receive federal funding, clinics will need to physically and financially separate any services that receive government funding from organizations that provide abortions or referrals.
The US Supreme court will not hear two cases stemming from state efforts to prevent Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving funding under Medicaid. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito voted to hear the cases, but Chief Justice Roberts and the newly-confirmed Justice Kavanaugh voted with the Court's liberal justices to turn the cases away; four votes are needed to hear a case. This split among the conservative wing of the Court may reflect Chief Justice Roberts' intention to keep the Court out of hotly contested issues, and of Justice Kavanaugh's willingness to follow along, at least for the time being.