A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] on Monday declined to block enforcement of a new Arizona abortion regulation [HB 2036 materials; JURIST report] that will ban abortions after 20 weeks unless there is a medical emergency. The law is scheduled to go into effect on August 2. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] earlier this month challenging the law, arguing that banning abortions after 20 weeks violates women's constitutional rights. In a statement [press release], Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, expressed disappointment with the decision:
A woman facing devastating complications in her pregnancy must have every medical option available to her. Today this court has upheld instead arbitrary and dangerous limits based not on sound medical judgment or concern for women's health, but on an extreme anti-choice agenda. Anyone concerned with the erosion of constitutional rights in the U.S. and the intrusion of government into the lives and private decisions of individual citizens should be profoundly disturbed by today's decision.The Center for Reproductive Rights said it would file an emergency appeal to the decision.
This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder]. Earlier in July, a federal judge blocked a Mississippi law [JURIST report] that would have effectively shut down the state's only abortion clinic. Two weeks ago, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt appealed a ruling [JURIST report] by a district court judge that held that an abortion ultrasound bill is unconstitutional. Earlier last month, Louisiana Governor Bob Jindal signed a bill increasing abortion restrictions in the state [JURIST report]. In May, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs [JURIST report] that they "reasonably believe" might result in the termination of a pregnancy. Earlier that month, a judge for the District Court of Oklahoma County ruled [JURIST report] that a law restricting how doctors may use abortion-inducing drugs to treat patients was a violation of the Oklahoma Constitution. In March, Utah passed a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours [JURIST report] prior to obtaining the procedure.