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Alabama Abortion Laws

Summary

Abortion is illegal in Alabama unless there is a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother.

Note: On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, returning the issue of abortion regulation to the states. Legal challenges to abortion restrictions continue to be brought. This area of the law is highly fluid.

On November 6, 2018, Alabama approved a state constitutional amendment declaring that there is no right to abortion under Alabama's constitution.

On June 24, 2022, a federal court lifted an injunction on Alabama's Human Life Protection Act. That law, which prohibits all abortions unless medically necessary to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother, is now in effect. The law specifically states that mothers cannot be held civilly or criminally liable for an abortion. 

Alabama Abortion Laws: The Basics

Alabama has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States. Alabama prohibits all abortions unless medically necessary to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother. There is no exception for rape or incest. 

Abortion laws in Alabama are highlighted in the table below, written in "plain English."  including information about pending changes to the law (hinging on judicial review).

Code Section

Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

The use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child.

All abortions are considered illegal unless it's determined to be necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother.

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion

Only those determined to be necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother. There is no exception for rape or incest.

The term does not include a procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy, nor does it include the procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman when the unborn child has a lethal anomaly. 

 

Penalty for Unlawful Abortion

Individuals who provide abortion services (unless the pregnancy presents a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother), or attempt to do so, may be charged with felonies.

  • Committing an abortion is charged as a Class A felony (punishable by up to 99 years in prison); and
  • Attempting an abortion is charged as a Class C felony (punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison).

There is no criminal or civil liability for women who choose to have an abortion in violation of state law.

Consent Requirements

 -

Residency Requirements for Patients

 -

Physician Licensing Requirements

Must be performed by a physician in a hospital at which they have admission privileges

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

  • Alabama Law - Summaries of select Alabama statutes relating to criminal, family, injury, consumer, small business, and other areas of the law.
  • Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.

Alabama Abortion Laws: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Alabama Abortion Rights Concerns

The prospect of an unwanted pregnancy can be confusing and frightening for women, especially when state regulations on access to legal abortion are constantly changing. If you believe you have been denied your rights or have other abortion-related concerns, it may be in your best interests to speak with an Alabama family law attorney.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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