State Capitol News
3:17 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Enforcement of Arizona Abortion Law

The U.S. Supreme Court refused today to allow the state to enforce its ban on abortion at 20 weeks. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.
Credit pbs.org

The 2012 law made the procedure illegal except to save the life of the mother or in cases of very serious health consequences. But, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year the law runs afoul of legal precedents going back more than 40 years that say women have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability, and that does not occur before at least the 23rd week. Without comment the high court left that decision intact. Janet Creps of the Center for Reproductive Rights said the ruling reaffirms those rights.

“The Supreme Court has said it’s for women to make these decisions, to decide how best to protect their own health and how best to live a life of dignity and full participation in society,” Creps said.

But, Cathi Herrod of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy said this may not be the last word. She said 10 states have similar laws, all of which can still be challenged — with the high court having to step in if another federal appellate court reaches a different conclusion.

“At some point I have no doubt the United States Supreme Court will consider the humanity of the preborn child and the risk of abortion to their mothers. This fight is far, far from over,” Herrod said.