The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona are challenging an Arizona law banning pre-viability abortions on behalf of an Arizona doctor whose patients include women in need of this essential medical care.
The law, the most extreme ban in the nation, criminalizes virtually all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and contains the narrowest possible exception for only immediate medical emergencies.
The ban would force a physician caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to wait until her condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage before offering her the care she needs.
The ban also contains no exceptions for a woman who receives the devastating diagnosis that the fetus will not survive after birth.
Although very few abortions occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a woman who has an abortion at this point does so for a variety of reasons, including the fact that continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to her health, that the fetus has been diagnosed with a medical condition or anomaly, or that the pregnancy has failed and miscarriage is inevitable.
Status: In May 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit struck down the law.