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Judge Okays Arizona’s Ban on Late-term Abortions
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On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Teilborg ruled that the measure in Arizona’s late-term abortion ban that makes it illegal to have abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy was legal. The judge, while refusing to block the measure said that it had been passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor of the state and is in keeping with standards that federal courts follow on limits to late-term abortions. The new statute, which would now be coming into effect from Thursday, makes it illegal for healthcare professionals from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical emergency.

Teilborg, told the abortion-rights advocates who had challenged the law that Arizona’s ban “does not impose a substantial obstacle” to abortions generally and Arizona has the right to pass such legislation. Earlier this month, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union had filed the suit on behalf of three Arizona abortion providers seeking to prevent the implementation of the ban.

The suit is thought to be the first court test brought by physicians against similar restrictions on abortions that have been adopted by a growing number of states.


Six states have already implemented laws in the past two years banning most late-term abortions, based on medical research suggesting that a fetus starts feeling pain after 20 weeks of gestation. Though the research is hotly debated by abortion clinics, North Carolina has imposed a similar ban for decades.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, but permitted states to place restrictions according to the time from when a fetus could potentially survive outside the womb – with the exception of medical emergencies that put the mother’s life at risk.

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