A federal judge has blocked a near-total ban on abortions from taking effect next month in Alabama, ensuring the act remains legal and available in the state while the legislation winds its way through the courts.
Federal judges in six other states have blocked laws that would ban abortions after what becomes the fetus's heartbeat can be detected from going into effect, and judges in two other states have temporarily blocked laws that would ban abortions after 18 weeks.
"The plaintiffs have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim", Thompson said.
It would ban all abortions in the state, except when "necessary to prevent a serious health risk" to the woman.
The law equates abortion to homicide and bans it in almost all cases, including rape or incest, and at all stages of pregnancy.
He wrote in a 17-page opinion that the abortion ban "defies the United States constitution".
Anti-abortion supporters hope the case will eventually reach the Supreme Court to overturn national abortion laws.
"Our law was created to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court level, and today's ruling is merely the first of many steps on that legal journey", said Alabama Republican Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the ban.
"We said it from the start: this ban is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight it every step of the way", she said.
"Abortion remains legal in Alabama", Randall Marshall, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said in a statement following the ruling.
The law would not have punished women receiving abortions. It is the most stringent pro-life law in the nation. At the time, as reported by Rewire.News Vice President of Law and the Courts Jessica Mason Pieklo, he wrote that "it is essential to understand that the large majority of abortion patients, particularly in Alabama, survive on very low incomes".
"As we have stated before, the State's objective is to advance our case to the US Supreme Court where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not prohibit states from protecting unborn children from abortion".
"These ruthless attacks from anti-abortion politicians have no place in Alabama", she said.
That court decision Tuesday meant Women's Med Centre faced losing its license for not meeting certain state requirements regarding backup doctors and hospital transfers.
After the laws were enacted this year, abortion rights groups immediately filed requests to federal judges to block those laws.
Physicians who provide abortions could go to jail for life under the ban.
The Ohio Department of Health said it won't comment on the pending litigation.