Appeals Court Rules Abortion Ban Past 12 Weeks Unconstitutional

The eight circuit Court of Appeals just ruled an Arkansas abortion ban at 12 weeks of pregnancy as unconstitutional, permanently blocking this extreme abortion ban.

SB 134, which state legislators attempted to pass as a regulation, would ban all abortions past 12 weeks with very few exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or medical emergencies. The court ruled yesterday that this ban violated precedents set by the Supreme Court which uphold the right of women to choose to have an abortion before fetal viability. In the appeals court case, Dr. Janet Cathey, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist stated that viability is “generally not possible until at least 24 weeks.”

SB 134 was vetoed in 2013 by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, only to have his veto overridden by both houses in the state legislature. It was then struck down in federal court last year by US District Judge Susan Webber Wright, who also deemed the ban unconstitutional, stating that “it impermissibly infringes a woman’s Fourteenth Amendment right to elect to terminate a pregnancy before viability.”

Today’s ruling affirms that safely and legally ending a pregnancy remains a protected constitutional right in this country,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Northup added, “Women should not have to run to court in state after state, year after tear to protect their constitutional rights from these politically motivated attacks.”


Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 5/18/14;

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