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Alabama Appeals Order Blocking Abortion Provider Shut Down

April 3, 2020, 1:11 PM

Alabama wants a federal appeals court to review an order temporarily stopping it from enforcing an emergency order that’s been interpreted as banning abortions during the new coronavirus pandemic.

The state filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on Thursday, telling the court it will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to decide if the trial court properly granted the abortion providers’ motion for a temporary restraining order.

The March 30 TRO allows providers to continue operating despite Alabama’s argument that they will divert medical supplies needed to fight Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

A motion to stay the TRO pending appeal accompanied the notice.

On April 1, the state asked the district court to dissolve the TRO and allow the emergency order to take effect. A hearing on that motion was set for Friday morning.

The TRO expires April 13, but could be replaced by a preliminary injunction.

Texas also is appealing a TRO blocking it from shuttering abortion clinics. Abortion providers arguing to uphold the restraining order told the Fifth Circuit April 1 that Texas shouldn’t be allowed to use an executive order banning nonessential medical procedure to achieve its “longtime goal of banning abortion.”

Providers also are fighting similar orders in Ohio and Oklahoma.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office represents the state. The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and Planned Parenthood Federation of America represent the providers.

Planned Parenthood has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg.

The case is Robinson v. Marshall, M.D. Ala., No. 19-cv-365, notice of appeal filed 4/2/20

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Carmen Castro-Pagan at