Alabama's Attorney General argued in a court filing Thursday that people who help others travel out of state to get abortions can be charged under conspiracy statutes.
The filing came as a response to a lawsuit that claimed that legal response was unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs want Alabama to clarify laws that state those who give travel, appointment or financial assistance to people traveling out of state for abortions can't be prosecuted.
"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," Attorney General Steve Marshall's office wrote in the filing. "Alabama can criminalize Alabama-based conspiracies to commit abortions elsewhere."
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue the step would illegally extend Alabama's regulation of abortions outside its state lines.
Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is illegal in Alabama.
To date, the Attorney General's office has not prosecuted someone for leaving the state for an abortion. Abortion rights advocates worry, however, that officials' language in this case may have a chilling effect on their work.
The Yellowhammer Fund, which aided low-income patients seeking abortion care in Alabama, stopped the practice due to the risk of prosecution.
The case will have a hearing on Sept. 5.
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