Court upholds Arizona’s extreme 20-week abortion ban

By Kay Steiger
Monday, July 30, 2012 15:13 EDT
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Woman in approximately the 20th week of pregnancy via Shutterstock
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The U.S. District Court of Arizona rejected a Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenge to the state’s 20-week abortion ban, one of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in the nation, on Monday.

“The court upheld a law that prevents doctors from providing safe, legal medical care to their patients,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project in an email statement on Monday. “We will do everything we can to stop this law from going into effect and to prevent politicians from interfering with decisions that should be made by a woman, her family and her doctor.”

Both organizations plan to file an emergency appeal in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court.

The law, which went into effect on Thursday, bans all abortions after 20 weeks except in cases when the pregnancy carries an immediate health risk for the mother. This goes far beyond gestation limits set in Roe v. Wade. In the lawsuit (PDF), the plaintiffs said, “Under clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent, the State of Arizona cannot ban abortions prior to viability.”

According to the ACLU, the Arizona Section of the American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology opposed the ban because it interfered with the doctor-patient relationship and violated standard practice.

North Carolina has a similar 20-week ban. Georgia and Louisiana have also passed similar laws, but they haven’t yet gone into effect, according to Reuters.

[Woman in approximately the 20th week of pregnancy via Shutterstock]

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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