Arizona's 20-Week Abortion Ban Is Unconstitutional, Says Federal Appeals Court

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Arizona's law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is unconstitutional, citing just about every Supreme Court case on the subject since Roe v. Wade.

"The 20-week law is [an] unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of Supreme Court authority, beginning with Roe and ending with Gonzales [v. Carhart]," the court says. "Arizona simply cannot proscribe a woman from choosing to obtain an abortion before the fetus is viable."

See also:
-Federal Judge Upholds 20-Week Abortion Ban; Cites Suspect Fetal-Pain Evidence
-Bill Montgomery Wants Lawyer for Unborn in Challenging 20-Week Abortion Ban

A federal judge had given the green light on the ban, as U.S. District Judge James Teilborg claimed that the state Legislature cited "substantial and well-documented evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks gestational age."

According to the appellate court ruling, everyone was in agreement that fetuses aren't viable at 20 weeks gestational age.

"The district court so recognized, declaring it undisputed that viability usually occurs between 23 and 24 weeks gestation," the court says. "Accordingly, Arizona's ban on abortion from 20 weeks necessarily prohibits pre-viability abortions."

The panel maintained that the Constitution doesn't allow states to ban abortion before the fetus is viable.

Although Governor Brewer signed the bill into law in April 2012, an emergency injunction had been preventing the law from going into effect.

"Lawmakers cannot impose their personal ideologies on the women of Arizona," said ACLU of Arizona legal director Dan Pochoda says in a statement. "This law endangered women's health and was knowingly passed by the Arizona Legislature despite clearly violating established constitutional requirements."

Not only is this decision a loss for Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who were arguing in favor of the ban, but it might also put a damper on the day of anti-abortion fanatic Congressman Trent Franks, who's trying to pass a nationwide ban on abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.

See the court's ruling below:

Isaacson v Horne by mhendleyNT

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Flyer9753 topcommenter

"substantial and well-documented evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks gestational age."

I would love to see the well documented bullshit since while the nerves exist and do create involuntary autonomic responses, the connection to the brain, where feeling happens, does not exist until a minimum of 24 weeks. 

So if the brain has no connection to the nervous system of the body prior to that, how can it feel pain? Answer: It can't.

The twitches and other reactions that have been observed in the womb are nothing more than the same thing that happens when you stub your toe, yet don't fall down. It takes longer for the impulses from a stubbed toe to travel from the toe to the brain, be processed and a corrective response to prevent falling be sent back to the toe - it's autonomous and the exact same thing that happens in the womb when you prick and poke a fetus/zygote prior to 24 weeks

Why are the conservatives, who claim to be so for personal liberties, so insistent on violating someone else person liberties for something that is nothing more than a group of cells, just like your toenail clippings or the fly you swat?


Good. It's no ones decision but the mothers & it in NO WAY should be a decision entered into lightly or any faster than it needs to already be.

valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 A better analogy is a wart you have removed.  It contains your DNA mixed with other DNA (a virus', rather than a father's) but is not seen by anybody to be a "separate living thing".

Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753  

Oh granted, very much so.

The fly part was towards those that simply take the murder, it's a life and therefore wrong" approach and nothing more, to which my response is "well then I guess we should throw everyone who swats a fly or mosquito in jail for murder too, right?"


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