Federal appeals court questions Arizona's ban on late-term abortions
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to stop an Arizona law which bans doctors from performing abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The way in which the state of Arizona measures gestation is in question.
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The three-judge panel did not say when it could make a final ruling in the case. The US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but has allowed states to place restrictions on the procedure from the time of viability unless the woman's health was at risk.Skip to next paragraph
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In July, days before the 9th Circuit panel blocked the law until it could fully consider the case, US District JudgeJames Teilborg ruled that the Arizona measure was consistent with limits federal courts have allowed.
Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU reproductive freedom project, said the Arizona law's exception to allow late-term abortion applies only in immediate emergencies if delay can jeopardize a woman's life or seriously harm her health.
"The medical emergency exception is truly, horrifically narrow," she said in a phone interview. "This is a law that allows her to get an abortion only when she is in emergency crisis."
Aside from Arizona, seven US states have put laws into effect in the past two years banning late-term abortions, based on hotly debated medical research suggesting a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation, according to the ACLU.
Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Cynthia Johnston. Desking by Christopher Wilson