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Rights Groups File Motion for Emergency Injunction Against Arizona Law Banning Abortion at 20 Weeks

Jodi Jacobson

Rights groups tonight filed a motion for an emergency injunction against HB 2036, the Arizona law that, among other things, bans abortions after 20 weeks.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) tonight filed an emergency motion to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an effort to overturn a stunning decision today by a district court judge upholding HB 2036, an unconstitutional Arizona law which, among other things, criminalizes abortion after 20 weeks and is set to go into effect on August 2nd, 2012.

The motion asks for emergency action by Wednesday, August 1, 2012.

Immediate preliminary injunctive relief is necessary in order to prevent the State of Arizona from impermissibly banning pre-viability abortions beginning at 20 weeks in pregnancy. A law prohibiting a woman from obtaining an abortion prior to viability is per se unconstitutional. Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction was denied by the District Court on July 30, 2012, in an order that also denied declaratory and permanent injunctive relief.

The motion argues that “if the ban is permitted to go into effect, it will cause irreparable harm to Plaintiffs’ patients and other Arizona women, by violating their constitutional rights and endangering their health.

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The plaintiffs in the case are board-certified obstetrician- gynecologists, and, the motion argues “Enforcement of the ban will bar them from providing pre-viability pregnancy
terminations for their patients at or after 20 weeks, in contravention of their patients’
rights and in some cases at the expense of their patients’ health. They therefore
challenged the ban as applied to abortions performed prior to viability on the grounds
that it violates their patients’ right under the Fourteenth Amendment, and sought
preliminary and permanent injunctive and declaratory relief.”

Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they regularly provide pre-viability abortions to their patients at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Based on the fact that they provide more than 50 such procedures per year, they are very likely to have such a patient within the next several days and almost certain to have such a patient within the next 21 days.

The motion asks for a preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo while “the serious constitutional issues raised by the ban could be fully addressed.”

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