Arguments Held Before Federal Appeals Court Challenging Most Extreme Abortion Ban in the Nation

Affiliate: ACLU of Arizona
November 5, 2012 1:12 pm

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SAN FRANCISCO – Arguments were held before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today in a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to the most extreme abortion ban in the country.

The ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona and the Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the Arizona law earlier this year on behalf of three physicians and their patients. The law criminalizes virtually all abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy and contains only the narrowest exception for medical emergencies.

“This law endangers women by preventing them from receiving safe, legal medical care," said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Politicians have no place interfering in a woman's right to make this very serious and personal decision with the help of her family and her doctor."

A U.S. district court upheld the law, but the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency injunction, which has so far blocked enforcement while the appeal proceeds.

The ban would forces a physician caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to wait until her condition poses 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 learns her fetus will not survive after birth.
"Through this law, Arizona lawmakers are trying to impose their personal religious beliefs in the guise of public policy," said Kelly Flood, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Arizona. "In doing so, they endanger the health of women in Arizona and interfere with women's rights to make important medical decisions."

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