Win one for abortion

This is semi-good news:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from Arizona officials seeking to revive a state law that barred most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The justices offered no reasons for turning down the appeal, as is their custom.

The case concerned an Arizona law, enacted in 2012, that prohibits abortions, except in medical emergencies, when the fetus reaches 20 weeks gestation, dated from the woman’s last menstrual period. The law’s definition of medical emergency is narrow, encompassing conditions requiring immediate abortion to avert a pregnant woman’s death or a “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

The law’s sponsors claimed that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, a contention that has been disputed by major medical groups.

In May, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled that the Arizona law was unconstitutional “under a long line of invariant Supreme Court precedents” starting with Roe v. Wade in 1973.

It means that the Arizona law is unconstitutional, but it does not automatically make a lot of similar laws unconstitutional (of course, if the Supreme Court had decided to hear the appeal then they might have decided that this law is constitutional so I’m ok with the non-ruling).

This part of the argument is a bit weird:

But they argued that the law did not amount to an outright ban, only to a permissible regulation, one they said was justified by the state’s interest in preventing fetal pain and the increased risk to women as their pregnancies progress. The appeals court rejected both arguments.

“As for Arizona’s claimed interest in the mother’s health,” he continued, “people are free to do many things risky to their health, such as surgery to improve their quality of life but unnecessary to preserve life.”

As far as I know, an abortion is always safer than carrying the fetus to full-term so the argument that limiting abortions is for the woman’s health is just silly.

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