A law in Arizona that the ACLU is calling "the most extreme and dangerous of abortion bans" was blocked from taking effect on Thursday after an emergency appeals request.
Arizona was set to become the ninth state to forbid doctors from aborting a fetus 20 weeks into a pregnancy. But unlike elsewhere in the country, Arizona would start the 20-week count after a pregnant woman's last menstrual period, or about 18 weeks into a pregnancy -- which is typically before medical problems can be detected in fetuses in prenatal exams, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.
The law, which the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Wednesday, will likely be on hold through at least October, when all briefs on the case will be filed, said Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights. A final decision is likely to be made in November or December, she said.
"We're thrilled with the decision," Rikelman said. "It's really great news for women in Arizona. We're very excited that women will still be able to get the health care that they need."
Under the ban, signed into law in April by Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., physicians could have their licenses revoked and face jail time if they violate its terms. Exceptions are life-threatening situations or medical emergencies for the mother, which Arizona law defines as a "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."
Those exceptions were not enough for The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, who filed an emergency appeal Monday night after a preliminary injunction they filed in federal court in Phoenix was dismissed.
I can see making a mother keep the baby if it was healthy, but the requirement of having to wait to do an abortion due to a health situation until it is life threatening or turns into a medical emergency and jeopardizing the mother is just asinine.