On Tuesday, the Arizona law banning abortion after 20 weeks in a pregnancy was ruled unconstitutional and permanently struck down.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 20 week ban in Arizona violated a woman's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability (around 24 weeks) as determined by Roe v. Wade. In the unanimous decision, Judge Marsha Berzon wrote "A woman has a constitutional right to choose to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus is viable without undue interference by the state." She continued, "While the state may regulate the model and manner of abortion prior to fetal viability, it may not proscribe a woman from electing abortion, nor may it impose an undue burden on her choice through regulation." Even the staunch anti-abortion Judge Andrew Kleinfeld agreed that while he may disagree with the practice of abortion, he was bound to uphold the Supreme Court's authority.
The judges rejected the claim that the law was not a ban on abortion, merely a regulation since doctors were allowed to perform abortions after 20 weeks for medical emergencies. In the opinion, Berzon wrote, "Allowing a physician to decide if abortion is medically necessary is not the same as allowing a woman to decide whether to carry her own pregnancy to term."
Nancy Northrup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that the ruling "should send a clear message to anti-choice politicians that their attempts to deprive pregnant women of critical health care are clearly unconstitutional."
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/21/2013; New York Times 5/21/2013; San Francisco Chronicle 5/21/2013
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .