Supreme Court Shoots Down AZ Appeal on Abortion Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court will not be hearing an appeal that would revive an anti-abortion law that was struck down by the federal courts. The New York Times reports:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from Arizona officials seeking to revive a state law that barred most abortions after 20 weeks of fetal gestation. The justices offered no reasons for turning down the appeal, as is their custom.

The case concerned an Arizona law, enacted in 2012, that prohibits abortions, except in medical emergencies, when the gestational age of the fetus is more than 20 weeks. The law’s definition of medical emergency is narrow, encompassing conditions requiring immediate abortion to avert a pregnant woman’s death or a “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

The law’s sponsors claimed that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, a contention that has been disputed by major medical groups.

In May, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled that the Arizona law was unconstitutional “under a long line of invariant Supreme Court precedents” starting with Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder offered a defiant response:


The Supreme Court’s decision, Mr. Wilder added, “is wrong, and is a clear infringement on the authority of states to implement critical life-affirming laws.” He said the governor would “keep her options on the table,” but would not specify what those might be.

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