GOP abortion bans struck down by Appellate Courts

On Wednesday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state of Arkansas’ 12-week abortion ban, the most restrictive in the nation. US appeals court rejects Arkansas’ 12-week abortion ban based on fetal heartbeat:

TalibanA federal appeals court struck down one of the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions on Wednesday, ruling that women would be unconstitutionally burdened by an Arkansas law that bans abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy if a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with doctors who challenged the law, ruling that abortion restrictions must be based on a fetus’ ability to live outside the womb, not the presence of a fetal heartbeat that can be detected weeks earlier. The court said that standard was established by previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

The ruling upholds a decision of a federal judge in Arkansas who struck down the 2013 law before it could take effect, shortly after legislators approved the change. But the federal judge left in place other parts of the law that required doctors to tell women if a fetal heartbeat was present; the appeals court also kept those elements in place.

A federal appeals court struck down one of the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions on Wednesday, ruling that women would be unconstitutionally burdened by an Arkansas law that bans abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy if a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with doctors who challenged the law, ruling that abortion restrictions must be based on a fetus’ ability to live outside the womb, not the presence of a fetal heartbeat that can be detected weeks earlier. The court said that standard was established by previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

The ruling upholds a decision of a federal judge in Arkansas who struck down the 2013 law before it could take effect, shortly after legislators approved the change. But the federal judge left in place other parts of the law that required doctors to tell women if a fetal heartbeat was present; the appeals court also kept those elements in place.

A similar law restricting abortions to 20 weeks’ gestation is still in effect in Arkansas, as are similar bans in 11 other states, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.

This year, legislation to restrict abortion at 20 weeks or another specific gestational age has been enacted in West Virginia and proposed in 12 other states. In Alabama, Ohio, and New York, proposed legislation would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state of Idaho’s 20-week abortion ban. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Idaho’s 20-week abortion ban:

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down Idaho’s ban against abortions after 20 or more weeks of pregnancy, ruling the law unconstitutional.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Idaho law violated Supreme Court precedent by prohibiting abortions before a fetus is considered viable, typically around 24 weeks. The court also found it unconstitutional for the state to require that all women seeking abortions during their second-trimester do so in a hospital, saying it “places an undue burden on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.”

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Friday’s decision – brought by a three-judge panel made up of two Democratic-appointees and one Republican-appointee – found that the higher court had already determined that women have the right to “choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State.” Idaho’s law, the court said, was “unconstitutional because it categorically bans some abortions before viability.”

Arizona’s 20-week abortion ban was struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in May of 2013, Arizona’s Ban on Abortions Struck Down in Federal Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in January of 2014. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Arizona Appeal on Abortion Ban.

Despite the 20-week abortion ban being unconstitutional, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks’ bill for a 20-week ban on abortions passed the Tea-Publican House just a couple of weeks ago. House passes bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. The measure passed mostly on a party line vote, 242-184, with one member voting present.

“It’s unclear when the Senate could consider the measure, but even if it was approved the President is unlikely to sign it, having pledged to veto the earlier version in January.”

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