High court rejects review of Arizona's 20-week abortion ban
January 13th, 2014
09:40 AM ET
9 years ago

High court rejects review of Arizona's 20-week abortion ban

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned aside Arizona's appeal to reinstate its law banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A federal appeals court last year said the restrictions were unconstitutional.

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The high court's refusal without comment to intervene now means the provisions passed in 2012 cannot be enforced.

Twelve states have similar laws, shortening the period the high court established four decades ago, after it said abortion should be legal until viability, when a fetus is generally believed to survive outside the womb. Current medical science puts that at about 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

Legal challenges in other states are working their way through the courts, including in Texas, which passed a variety of measures over access to abortion.

The case is Horne v. Isaacson (13-402).

Filed under: Abortion • Arizona • Supreme Court
soundoff (237 Responses)

    "Choice" that everyone keeps talking about, is not just the "Choice" to abort, but it's also a "Choice" to not abort... People have the right to make a "Choice" whether it be abort or not... reality is, a fetus cannot survive outside a mothers womb, therefore he is an extension of her body. Unless the baby can survive than yes I agree with you, no abortion. If he can't, than who are you to dictate what a woman should do. If you are a good Christian woman, than good for you, you go to heaven and we go to hell and we are fine with it. So for all those religious nut jobs out there, keep your faith to yourself, mind your own damn business.

    January 13, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. kvan

    Thank goodness. Now those babies can get what they deserve!

    January 13, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. OK


    I would love to know how many of those people who call themselves "pro-life" are anti-capital punishment.

    Or pro Headstart, SNAP, Health care, or anything else that would help that life have a better life,

    January 13, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. 66rock

    Good job Az legislature, another fail! All our Az GOP "leaders" do here is waste a lot of taxpayer's money fighting these suits for their Unconstitutional laws.And they do it over and over, SB1070 was a perfect example with next up same sex marriage, much like other red states. Meanwhile, the state is near last in education but high in no jobs and other "not as Important" issues to them. Think it over many times many times before your casting your vote for these people election day. Vote for the best candidate who will work for the people, not for the party.

    January 13, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. XYZ

    The problem with abortion is that it has been decided rather dubiously by the courts instead of through the Democratic process. People feel disenfranchised and will continuously fight something they feel was imposed upon them. Our government acting above the law is one of the worst things for our country.

    January 13, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Kenneth Newman

    NOW can WE all abort the government of Arizona!!!!

    January 13, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. tom l

    ""And, from reading the comments here, the only ones that appear to not take this seriously are the comments from the left."
    From the left here: I take it very, VERY seriously that a certain sect of a certain religion is attempting to take over the laws of this country based on a mythology of "that is how it was once". I take Freedom of Religion very seriously and will speak out against the Theocracy folks every chance I get. Serious enough for you?"


    While you might want to make the focus of this on religion, it really isn't. While the main proponents might be hardcore Christian conservatives, there are others that are not religious that feel that life begins at a different time than others. It certainly isn't settled on that issue whatsoever (personally, I have no idea and don't pretend to know). This has nothing to do with mythology (as you appear to like to mock people of faith with that comment) and it has nothing to do with a theocracy. All I'm saying is that my perception is that those from the left are rabid with regards to this issue (just as rabid as the Christian conservatives but on the opposite side) and look at it as a wedge issue political position only (see Rudy for that).

    The law is even confused on this issue of where life begins. Do you know who Rae Carruth is? He's a football player who is in jail for 2 deaths...one for his girlfriend and one for the fetus inside his girlfriend at the time of death. So the law is counting the fetus as a murder in this case. Do you see that this is not a black/white issue but, in reality, is very gray.

    January 13, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Pam

    I thought this was all put to bed by the SCOTUS with Roe Vs Wade. You do understand that the majority of women getting abortions are the poor who are already on welfare and food stamps. The GOP wants to cut all of that out. So, which is worse, bringing a child into the world without a competent parent to take care of it, feed it, nurture it, or having an abortion? The GOP wants to re-write the laws that are already in place. Change the laws if you want to try instead of trying to decieve everyone under the guise of "this is safer for women" like we just did in Texas.

    January 13, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. ktfromAZ

    It does come down to your faith and beliefs. If you are your own "Almighty" you will have no problem with anything at all in this Life. Hence, the direction this country is taking...by taking God out of everything from Schools to Christmas...

    Society continually seeks to devalue the lives of the unborn, creating its own definitions of humanity based on distorted views of morality. But the undeniable fact is that life begins at creation, and a human is created as soon as he or she is conceived. God is present at our creation; He is, in fact, our Creator. Our value as human beings created in His image is conceived even before we are.

    January 13, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Tik

    Couple things--PLEASE stop labeling pro-choice americans as pro-abortion. When you are PRO something, it means you are in favor of it in all, or at least most instances. So calling President Obama, a father of two, Pro-Abortion makes ABSOLUTELY no sense. If he was PRO-ABORTION, he would not be a father and would be advocating for the end of the huma race. Period. SECOND: If a lot of "Pro-Lifer's" would put more energy into adopting or fostering children in may be a little more constructive. Third: I've noticed from most of my Republican Pro-Life friends, and yes they are my FRIENDS although we dont agree on everything....All of them are anti-welfare, anti-free healthcare for the poor, anti-government assistance programs for young mothers....anti EVERYTHING that could actually make raising a child when you are 16 or dirt poor manageable. I had my daughter when I was sixteen, and the ONLY way I was able to make it and still become an educated responsible citizen is that I had a two parent, upper middle class, family structure in place. And yes....my entire family is PRO CHOICE, and we still discussed in and found that if we all pulled together I could make it as a young father. Not everbody has this leg-up. You cant make someone have a child, and not care if a baby one day old dies of a common cold because they dont have access to health care...or dies of starvation. If you are pro-life and actually contribute to programs for young mothers, or are adoptive parents, you have my utmost respect. If you're just trying to tell people what to do without helping them at all, you have no place at the table of this discussion.

    January 13, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. tom l

    "Pro-choice can still be anti-abortion."


    So very true and I heartily agree. Pro-life can be pro women, too. There is no absolutism, as you rightly pointed out.

    January 13, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Good, really sick of the religious getting away with way too much. Science is right and you'll just have to deal with it.

    January 13, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. everyday-ordinary guy

    so I've read through about 5 of the pages and all I can say is WOW. There are some very passionate poeple out.there. Maybe your passion should not infringe on other people's rights though.

    My wife and are are trying right now and I'll be honest...if at 24 weeks the doc detects the fetus has some serious issues, we will abort

    Also – it should be noted that abortion is not always a bad thing. Unwanted children have a HUGE chance of growing up as a burden to society.

    January 13, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Jan

    XYZ: The courts took the decision away from the "democratic process" you speak of because Women told the Courts that they wanted their state governments OUT of THEIR lives. Gay rights will also be "decided" in courts as well, because "the democratic process" (AKA states "Rights") is infringing on the rights of gay Americans

    January 13, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. rs


    Sniffit – nobody is turning any clocks back. this is the 21st century and there is no shortage of Americans who seek to protect the development of unborn children and the emotional health of women who have undergone abortions. What they want is a democratic right to choose which laws to have lording over us and a government which supports the beauty of life more than the right to kill.
    As so many on the Right point out- we're not a Democracy. It is not majority rules- if it were we might still have slavery, and we might have long ago jettisoned the Second Amendment- all because of "majority rules".

    January 13, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. richunix

    I’m not Pro-abortion, nor am I Anti-abortion. I believe abortion should not be used as a form of birth control. But we have a very VERY serious issue with our world and as the apex being in this world we have the ability to change our outcome. The world population from the 1800-1854 (to the year I was born) was about 1.8 billion. During the intervening years between 1800-1954, we have had two world wars and numerous regional conflicts. Now in the past 59 years we have gone from 1.8 billion to a little more than 7.2 billion people, that right in less than 60 years we increase the world population almost 300%. At this rate we will (already starting) starve ourselves in wars that make the past two wars look like the “love boat” conflict.

    January 13, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    " Maybe we should give it out instead of candy on halloween?"

    Maybe you guys need to quit fighting to limit people's access to birth control (and everything else).
    You want it this way... don't force a business owner to provide any medical coverage or benefits which is against their religion. Don't allow any condoms to be given out at schools. Don't allow abortions when they cannot get the birth control. Force the woman to have the unwanted the baby. Do not provide food stamps, DC assistance, housing assistance, or any other social programs to these poor unwed mothers to help with this unwanted baby you basically fought to make her have. Do not allow the child access to headstart, so the the child can begin learning earlier and the mother can have an option to the high cost of day care when she goes to her three jobs because you fight against a living wage.
    So, when the young lady hooks up with an abusive boyfriend who slams the baby against the wall and puts in a vegetative state... we can then have the state take custody of the now very expensive to care for baby (who remember, was unwanted to begin with) who has exactly 0 chance of ever becoming a productive citizen and we can throw the BF and the mother into prison for 75 years sentences, so we can pay to house and feed them, too.
    When all you really wanted to do was to make these people conform to your own puritanical beliefs.
    In short... you are mad because she had sex out of wedlock...

    January 13, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. KarmaBurns

    I am a Christian woman, note the absence of my claiming I am a "good Christian". None of us Christians are good, just forgiven. However I am AGAINST government control one way or another over a woman's body, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE MEN. I love men, but they have no idea of what it is like to be a woman/girl. I would love to see no abortion, but I am also aware that it should be the right of each and every woman to be in charge of that decision. Leave it between a woman and her creator as to what is best. More laws=More oppression.

    January 13, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. ChicagoGirl

    How about we change the discussion from terminating pregnancies to PREVENTING pregnancies? Let's have clinics where women (including teen age girls) can get birth control. Let's have sex education in schools. Let's NOT pretend that people don't have sex until they get married. Let's NOT pretend that women don't get pregnant from a rape. If we prevent the pregnancies, then there is no more argument over a woman's right to choose – there will be no need for this choice.

    January 13, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Kevin

    @XYZ: It seems counterintuitive, but not everything necessarily SHOULD be decided through popular vote, even a democracy. There's a phrase for what happens when the majority is allowed to dictate the rights of the minority – "mob rule".

    For example, there were times when the Civil Rights Act wouldn't have been passed had it been up to the popular vote.

    This is one of the reasons that the United States is a Democratic Republic – our leaders are elected by simple popular vote, but many of our laws are decided by the popularly elected representatives, because (in theory at least) they are better at being fair / governing well than the average person.

    January 13, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Silence DoGood

    I wish some of the Fouinding Fathers would come back and give these Radical Right Theocracy folks a good talking too about Religious Freedom.
    “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
    ~George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
    “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
    ~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams

    January 13, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. PawsUp84

    All this talk about preventing abortions yet no one has really used critical thinking skills. If you want to prevent abortions, you have to attack the reasons why a woman would want to have one. You know what the number one reason women want an abortion is? Socio-economic status is the reason. Education is the reason. Knowing that they are left 100% responsible for the child when the father bails or decides to stop paying child support is the other reason. How about we hold fathers accountable for their actions as well and get tougher on financially deadbeat fathers? I bet that would prevent abortions. How about we make sure people are adequately educated about birth control starting in our school system (get rid of abstinence only education)? I bet that would prevent abortions. How about we get tougher on child support enforcement and actually hold fathers accountable? I bet that would prevent abortions. How about we stop judging low income women for needing assistance for their children? I bet that would prevent abortions too. Sitting here ranting and raving about the morals and science of abortions and trying to make laws restricting them will not actually prevent them or stop them....

    January 13, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. TomGI

    Those christians will never quit trying to prevent abortion. And they will never accept responsibility for supporting those unwanted kids. AND they will never be as adamant about ending the global hegemonic war making of the US military.

    January 13, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "The problem with abortion is that it has been decided rather dubiously by the courts instead of through the Democratic process"

    The Constitution defines our democratic process? Got a problem with Article III? Tough.

    As for your claim something it being "imposed" on you and other folks that want to ban abortion, there's NOTHING being imposed on you. NOTHING. Nothing about Roe v. Wade forces you to have an abortion or makes other peoples' abortions any of your business. Nor does that ruling prevent you from leaving and living in another country where abortion is illegal if you don't like it.

    January 13, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Susan StoHelit

    Glad to hear it. While there may not seem to be much difference between 20 and 23 weeks (abortions are not allowed past viability, for viable fetuses, for those who did not know), it is a huge difference. It's the difference between a possibility of brain function/consciousness or not, and it is often the time frame when some of the worst pregnancy defects and disorders are diagnosed.

    These 20 week abortions – that is a woman who has gone through the worst of pregnancy, that is a woman who wanted the baby, it is a medical tragedy that spawns 20 week abortions, not anything trivial. Arizona would have these women forced to carry a fetus that would not survive, forced to risk or lose their lives when they develop a condition that won't let them survive without an abortion. These are the rarest abortions, and they only happen for very serious reasons, in conditions that no one ever wants to live through.

    January 13, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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