The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday chose not to hear Arizona’s state appeal against the 9th Circuit’s unanimous decision holding Arizona’s abortion law as unconstitutional. Without dissent or comment, the court refused to hear the case that involved a ban on abortion beyond twenty weeks after conception of pregnancy.
This is the second time this term the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an abortion law related matter. The first involved an Oklahoma law that limited the ability of doctors to perform medical abortions. After obtaining fuller explanation of the matter from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court had removed the matter from its docket.
In the Arizona case, the state had submitted that the flat abortion ban beyond twenty weeks of conception was to protect fetuses from feeling pain during the procedure and for protecting women from associated health risks. However, when the matter came before it, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled unanimously that the law was unconstitutional.
In November, however, in the matter of an abortion ban in Texas, which bars abortions in clinics that do not have a doctor on its staff with professional privileges in a nearby hospital, the Supreme Court was divided and chose not to block the law. Currently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is reviewing the constitutionality of that law, while it is already in force.
The effect of the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the challenge against the decision of the 9th Circuit means that the Arizona abortion ban, as also a similar ban in Idaho, which comes under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit, will not be implemented.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said, “Today the Court did the right thing, but women’s health is still on the docket – not only at the Supreme Court, but in active cases all across the country.”