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Ninth Circuit continues to block Arizona abortion law

[JURIST] A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld a preliminary injunction [text, PDF] on Tuesday, continuing to block Arizona's strict new abortion law from taking effect until the lawsuit challenging it is resolved. Federal judge William Fletcher, writing for the court, found that the State had failed to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood Arizona [advocacy website], the primary plaintiff in the case, was unlikely to succeed in showing that HB 2036 [text, PDF], considered one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, imposed an undue burden on women attempting to receive medicated abortions. The regulation would require that the two most commonly proscribed abortion drugs be taken in clinics and would ban them outright after the seventh week of pregnancy.

The ruling comes as the latest event in the challenge to the Arizona law. A separate three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] in April to extend the injunction, rejecting arguments from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne [official website]. The injunction was initially handed down [JURIST report] by the Ninth Circuit earlier that month in an opinion by Judge Marsha Berzon. Judge David Bury for the US District Court for the District of Arizona refused to block HB 2036 in March, claiming that the hardships imposed by the law do not outweigh its benefits. Women's healthcare providers challenged [JURIST report] the law on March 5, less than a month before it was to take effect on April 1. In May 2013 the Ninth Circuit struck down [JURIST report] the portion of the law banning abortions after 20 weeks.

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