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US High Court Rejects 'Callous and Unconstitutional' Abortion Ban

'Women should not be forced to run to court, year after year, in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights and access to critical health care.'

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

(Photo: Jen Farr/ cc via Flickr)The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday they would not take up an Arizona abortion ban that would have been a direct assault on Roe. v. Wade.

"The justices on Monday declined to reconsider a lower court ruling that says the law violates a woman's constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb," AP reports.

"Viability" of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks.

The Arizona abortion ban, signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer in April 2012, outlawed abortions after 20 weeks.

“The Supreme Court soundly declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s sound decision that Arizona’s abortion ban is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing precedent," said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which originally filed the challenge to the law along with the American Civil Liberties Union in 2012. "This ensures that no Arizona women’s lives or health are harmed by this callous and unconstitutional law."

"But women should not be forced to run to court, year after year, in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights and access to critical health care," Northup continues. "Our fundamental rights are not up for debate and cannot be legislated away by politicians who are hell bent on restricting access to the full range of reproductive health care."

The case Horne v. Isaacson challenged the ninth U.S. circuit court of appeals ruling that struck down the law saying it was a flat ban that violated a woman's right to "viability." Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier.

"The Court’s reaction to the new Arizona abortion case had been eagerly awaited, for two reasons," SCOTUS blog reports. "[I]t was a test of whether the Court would relax its repeated view that states cannot flatly ban abortion in the period before a fetus could live outside the pregnant woman’s body, and it was a test of whether the Justices would clear the way for state legislatures to experiment with bans on abortions at increasingly earlier stages in pregnancy."

"Because the Court chose not to review the case, nothing final can be read into that denial, except perhaps that the Court is not ready to reopen the whole question about the continuing validity of its precedents on women’s abortion rights," SCOTUS blog adds.

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