Arizona Abortion Ban Halted
Special Report - August 2, 2012
Provisions in a new Arizona law that ban most abortions after 20 weeks gestation will not go into effect today as scheduled, as a result of a ruling issued yesterday by a federal appeals court that temporarily blocks the state from enforcing the law. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued the August 1 order that temporarily blocks the regulations from taking affect, after the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appealed a federal district court’s ruling earlier this week that upheld the law as constitutional.
In the lawsuit, Isaacson v. Horne, the CRR and the ACLU, on behalf of three abortionists, are challenging the constitutionality of section 7 of HB 2036-“Women’s Health and Safety Act,” which was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2012, and bans most abortions in cases where the physician determines that the unborn child’s gestational age is at least 20 weeks. At issue in the lawsuit is section 7 of HB 2036, which states: “Except in a Medical Emergency, a person shall not knowingly perform, induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the probable gestational age of her unborn child has been determined to be at least twenty weeks.” The law defines gestational age as “the age of the unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman.” The late-term provisions in HB 2036 were scheduled to go into effect on August 2.
In a ruling on July 30th, U.S. District Judge James Teilborg upheld the law as constitutional and denied the plaintiffs request to halt the law from taking effect. In his ruling, Judge Teilborg wrote that the state has a “legitimate interest in limiting abortions” based on fetal pain. “Given the nature of D&Es and induction abortions….and the finding that the unborn child has developed pain sensors all over its body by 20 weeks gestational age, this Court concludes that the State has shown a legitimate interest in limiting abortions past 20 weeks gestational age,” the judge wrote. “Further, in promulgating H.B. 2036, Arizona expressed concerns for the health of the pregnant woman, finding that the instance of complications is highest after twenty weeks of gestation. This additional legitimate interest further supports H.B. 2036’s regulation on abortions after 20 weeks gestational age.”
Following Judge Teilborg’s ruling, the plaintiffs in the case immediately filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court, asking that the court enjoin the late-term abortion provisions of the law from taking effect while the lawsuit goes through the appeals process. The 9th Circuit granted that request in its August 1 order that “enjoins enforcement of the provisions of Arizona House Bill 2036 that place restrictions upon and criminalize the performance of abortions from 20 weeks gestational age, pending appeal.” A full panel of the 9th Circuit is expected to consider the lawsuit this fall.
Nebraska became the first state to enact a ban on late-term abortions based on fetal pain in 2010. Since then, a growing number of states, including Oklahoma in 2011, and, most recently, Georgia, Arizona, and Louisiana in 2012, have enacted similar laws.
Oklahoma Bans Abortions After 20 Weeks - April 25, 2011
SD Enacts 3-Day Abortion Waiting Period - March 25, 2011
Virginia Passes Abortion Safety Bill - February 28, 2011
"Choose Life" Bill Introduced - February 17, 2011
Mixed Reviews On Pro-Life Status - January 25, 2011
Abortions Down In NC, Steady Nationwide - January 18, 2011
SC Governor Signs Pro-Life Bill - August 20, 2010
Oklahoma Lawmakers Defend Life - April 30, 2010
Nebraska Abortion Law Is Model For NC - April 20, 2010
Pro-Life Legislation Enacted Elsewhere - September 28, 2009
Majority of Americans Now Pro-Life - May 19, 2009
Majority of Americans Favor Laws Limiting Abortions - January 12, 2009
Healthcare Debate Over Abortion - October 26, 2009
U.S. Senate Approves Pro-Life Amendment - March 4, 2008
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