Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review an appellate court’s ruling that a 2012 Arizona law banning abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court did not give any reason for the decision in response to a petition of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruling in May 2013 that blocks the state law. Montgomery had argued that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks and aborting it at that stage increases risk to the mother.
The Circuit Court found that the abortion ban law violated standards established by the justices 40 years ago in the case Roe v. Wade.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) issued a statement in reaction to the Supreme Court decision. He said the decision is wrong because it infringes on the state’s authority to implement critical life-affirming laws.
Pro-abortion rights group Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) praised the decision.
The CRR, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and several Arizona doctors, filed a legal challenge in July 2012 to block a portion of Arizona’s anti-choice omnibus bill, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period, two weeks earlier than similar laws passed in other states.
Since the landmark case that first spelled out a right to terminate a pregnancy, the Supreme Court has consistently upheld a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, according to CRR. It also had declined to review a lower court’s decision striking down an Oklahoma abortion law that practically eliminated drug-induced abortions and required ultrasound tests.
The Supreme Court also denied a stay of Texas’s new law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Opponents of the law argued that it will lead to some clinics having to close.