Rights groups challenge Arizona abortion law
Rights groups challenge Arizona abortion law
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[JURIST] The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday challenging an Arizona law [HB 2036 materials; JURIST report] that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy unless there is a medical emergency. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Arizona obstetricians, argues that Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks violates women’s constitutional rights and requests that the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] block the law from taking effect:

The ban on abortions beginning at 20 weeks … violates the substantive due process rights of women seeking abortions. Under clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent, the State of Arizona cannot ban abortions prior to viability. With its narrowly defined medical emergency exception, the ban also unconstitutionally endangers women’s health. Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the 20 week ban is unconstitutional and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief prohibiting its enforcement as to previability abortions.

HB 2036 is scheduled to take effect August 2nd.

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.