Judge Upholds Arizona’s Extreme Abortion Law

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-31223161/stock-photo-a-welcome-sign-at-the-arizona-state-line.html?src=csl_recent_image-1">Katherine Welles</a>/Shutterstock

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


UPDATE: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the request for an emergency stay on Wednesday, blocking the law from going into effect for at least two months.

ORIGINAL POST: A judge in Arizona rejected a challenge to the state’s new law banning abortions after the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy on Monday. The ruling is a setback for abortion rights groups who argued that the law was the most extreme new limit on women’s access to abortion in the United States.

Over the past two years, eight states, including Arizona, have passed similar laws banning abortions after 20 weeks. But Arizona’s law was the first that big, national reproductive rights groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU challenged in court. The groups argued on behalf of three Arizona doctors that the law stands counter to the previous US Supreme Court rulings that found that abortion should be legal until viability, which is typically sometime around 24 weeks into a pregnancy. Lawyers for the groups also pointed out that the Arizona law includes a very narrow exception, only allowing an abortion if the mother’s life is in immediate danger.

The judge in the case, James Teilborg, argued that the law is not an outright ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, since it includes some exceptions. Teilborg ruled that the plaintiffs could not challenge the 20-week ban before it takes effect, but did not rule out a future challenge based on how the law ends up affecting specific women or doctors.

The plaintiffs say waiting until after the law in being enforced would essentially put the courts in charge of determining what medical care is necessary, rather than women or their doctors. “We will do everything we can to stop this law from going into effect,” Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, told Mother Jones. The groups said they will file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and seek an emergency stay to prevent the law from taking effect on August 2.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate