By Sam Baker - 07/30/12 06:57 PM EDT
A federal court Monday upheld Arizona's strict anti-abortion-rights law, which bans most abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit challenging Arizona's law, said it plans to appeal immediately.
The court said Arizona had made the case that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks, and therefore said the state has a legitimate interest in avoiding that pain by criminalizing many abortions.
The House is set to vote this week on a bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), that would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks in Washington, D.C.
Judge James Teilborg said the Arizona law does enough to protect the life of a pregnant woman — a finding that the ACLU strongly disputed.
“This law forces a sick, pregnant woman to wait until she is on the brink of disaster before her doctor can provide her medically appropriate care,” said Dan Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona. “We will continue the fight to protect women's health and to ensure they can get the care they need.”