The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal on the late-term abortion legislation in Arizona, which was ruled to be unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October of last year. The Women's Health and Safety Act effectively bans abortions after 20 weeks, with the exception of medical emergencies.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the Women's Health and Safety Act in April of 2012, promoting the right to life for unborn children and raising standards of medical care for women seeking abortions. The Act prevents women from aborting their children after they have the ability to feel pain, and also requires that abortion doctors have admitting privileges in hospitals within 30 miles of abortion clinics. It also limits abortion medications, which can be administered in the home.
Three doctors had filed suit against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, citing that the federal precedent which allows mothers to abort their babies until they are 24 weeks old should override the state's ability to enforce a ban prior to that time. District Judge James Teilborg had ruled in favor of the Women's Health and Safety Act, as the ban protects babies from feeling pain and acts in the interest of women's health.
The doctors then appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who declared the late-term abortion legislation unconstitutional. According to Fox News, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that the ban "violates a woman's constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb;" however, technological advances since the federal precedence was set have aided children in surviving outside the womb even before they are 24 weeks old.
Horne appealed to the Supreme Court, who declined to hear the case today and effectively upheld the lower court's ruling that the late-term abortion ban should not be in force in the state. Governor Brewer's spokesman has declared the Supreme Court's actions a "clear infringement on the authority of states to implement critical life-affirming laws."