Ninth Circuit Blocks Arizona's 20-Week Abortion Ban

A federal court has blocked the implementation of Arizona's recently passed law that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy save in the event of medical emergency.

A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the HB 2036 could not be enforced until an appeal on the law had been decided.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who filed a couple pleadings in support of HB 2036 in court, told The Christian Post that he was "not surprised" by Ninth Circuit's decision.

"I am confident that Arizona's law comports with the current state of U.S. Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence," said Montgomery.

"While opponents want to resurrect Roe v. Wade in its entirety, advances in neonatal science have fundamentally altered the calculus of legitimate interests in safeguarding the health of both the mother and the child."

The Ninth Circuit panel's decision comes two days after U.S. District Judge James Teilborg ruled that the law, which was set to take effect on Thursday, was constitutional.

Teilborg ruled against a suit brought forth by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

In a statement following Teilborg's decision, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas spoke about the issues the ACLU has with HB 2036.

"Today, the court upheld a law that prevents doctors from providing safe, legal medical care to their patients," said Kolbi-Molinas. "We will do everything we can to stop this law from going into effect and to prevent politicians from interfering with decisions that should be made by a woman, her family and her doctor."

Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life, told The Christian Post that the law does take into consideration the health of the mother.

"The Arizona law has an exception for when the mother presents with a medical emergency," said Balch.

"Absent a medical emergency, the state has a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain."

Arizona is one of 10 states to pass a law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. North Carolina has had a ban for some time, while Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma enacted similar bans over the past couple years.

Montgomery told CP that while he expects the suit to be relatively quickly processed, he also assumes it will eventually go to the highest court in the land.

"The opening brief and excerpts of record are now due September 4, 2012; the answering brief is now due October 3, 2012; and the optional reply brief is due within 14 days after service of the answering brief," said Montgomery.

"This case shall be placed on the first available argument calendar following the completion of briefing. I hope to get a decision as quickly as possible. I fully expect this case to go before the U.S. Supreme Court."

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