Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 481 into law May 7, banning most abortions once an unborn baby's heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks. Gestational bans have also sprung up, banning abortions at eight weeks in Missouri and at 18 weeks in Arkansas.
"The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents States from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible", Thomas wrote on Friday.
As part of the challenge to the constitutionality of the ban, the groups are asking the courts to block it from going into effect on July 24 while a judge reviews the case.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging Arkansas's 18-week abortion ban and other new regulations restricting the procedure there. "For almost half a century, the Supreme Court has protected the right to abortion, and we know the majority of Americans continue to support abortion access".
CNN Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck said it wasn't surprising that the justices declined to take up the "narrow and specific" Alabama case.
In the method targeted in the Alabama law, sometimes called D&E, a woman's cervix is dilated and the contents of the uterus removed.
Georgia's pro-life law is among several heartbeat laws passed recently by state legislators. But since then a wave of even more aggressive bans were passed by states who saw Justice Anthony Kennedy's departure from the court in 2018 as an opportunity to roll back the right to the procedure. It was their first major reproductive health case since the addition of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the bench. Those laws more clearly conflict with the high court's precedents.
A federal judge blocked an IN law that would ban a second-trimester abortion procedure on Friday, just days before the law was set to come into force. An appeal is pending in that case.
Court watchers suggest the ruling is a compromise by the Supreme Court to stay out of the larger fight over abortion - at least for now; Mike Emanuel reports.
With abortion rights under fire in the US, could a similar debate happen here in Canada?
The Supreme Court in 2016 buttressed constitutional protections for abortion rights in a ruling in which Kennedy joined the four liberal justices, throwing out a Texas law imposing difficult-to-meet requirements on abortion clinics and abortion doctors.
"If the Court had taken the case, it might be a signal that it's ready to maybe uphold the law or even overrule Roe", Hill said in a text, referring to the 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.