Arizona Abortion Ban Shot Down By US Supreme Court

A law passed in Arizona to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy has been appealed to the US Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case. The Arizona abortion ban, signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in 2012, is now considered unconstitutional.

In the Arizona case of Horne v. Isaacson, Arizona’s abortion ban was challenged by several abortion clinics as being a restrictive law and an infringement on the rights of women. The first judge to hear the case, US District Judge James Teilborg, originally ruled the law to be constitutional. He cited the language in the law that states the law exists for the protection of the mother and the unborn child as his reasoning for allowing it.

In May 2013, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would overturn Judge Teilborg’s decision. The primary reason for deeming the law unconstitutional was precedent set in former abortion cases like Roe v. Wade. The US Supreme Court then refused to hear the case on appeal. They have not accepted a case on the matter of abortion laws since 2007, when they ruled 5-4 in favor. Their refusal was the final nail in the coffin for the Arizona abortion.

Governor Brewer felt the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to overturn the law showed an overstepping of bounds on state’s rights. Her office released a statement calling the final ruling, “a clear infringement on the authority of states to implement critical life-affirming laws.”

The Arizona abortion ban is slightly more restrictive than similar bans being implemented in more conservative states across the United States. The 20-week gestational period given to women is four weeks less than the 24 proposed by most states. The primary concern for the Arizona ban is the health of the mother and that the unborn child would feel no pain.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, believes the fight for women’s rights is just beginning on abortion bans. “Today, the court did the right thing, but women’s health is still on the docket – not only at the Supreme Court, but in active cases all across the country,” Richards said in a press statement released on Monday.

There is still an Arizona abortion ban in existence that prohibits “late term” abortions.