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Supreme Court Renders Arizona’s Abortion Ban Unenforceable

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court declined to take up Arizona’s law banning abortions past twenty weeks. As a federal appeals court had previously ruled the law unconstitutional, the high court’s refusal to consider the case renders the ban unenforceable.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law in April 2012. It would have prohibited abortions before viability, commonly considered at 24 weeks, based on the controversial “fetus pain” theory. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery challenged the appeals court ruling that the ban was “per se unconstitutional.”

The Supreme Court did not give any reasoning behind its refusal to take up the case, as they usually don’t, but Arizona Daily Star’s Howard Fischer provides some context:

More significant, it shows that the justices were not interested in using this case to revisit – and potentially alter or even void – the historic 1973 precedent set in Roe v. Wade which first spelled out a right to terminate a pregnancy.

The Arizona law comes as close as anything brushing up against that ruling the court has recently considered.

Nine other states have bans on similar bans on pre-viability abortion.

UPDATE 11:53 p.m.: According to Brewer spokesperson Andrew Wilder, the Court’s decision “is wrong, and is a clear infringement on the authority of states to implement critical life-affirming laws.”

[h/t Arizona Daily Star]

[Image via Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times]

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