Supreme Court will not hear abortion appeal

The Supreme Court without comment declined to review a lower court’s decision that struck down an Arizona law banning most abortions after 20 weeks. 

The decision Monday means Arizona’s abortion law will remain off the books. 

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In May, a federal appeals court struck down the Arizona law as unconstitutional, citing an “unbroken stream” of Supreme Court decisions upholding abortion rights. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled at the time the government had no right to ban abortion before a fetus is viable — currently measured at 24 weeks. 

About a dozen states around the country have passed laws similar to or more restrictive than the Arizona law.

Abortion rights advocates applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse to hear the case but said Arizona’s law should not have passed in the first place. 

“Today the Court did the right thing, but women’s health is still on the docket — not only at the Supreme Court, but in active cases all across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The Arizona law was passed in 2012 and signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. The law had banned abortions after 20 weeks, except in the case of “medical emergencies.” 

At the time, Brewer said the law represented her commitment to protect the health of women and the unborn. 

"Knowing that abortions become riskier the later they are performed in pregnancy, it only makes sense to prohibit these procedures past 20 weeks," Brewer said when the law was passed in 2012.