- (Photo: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)
A judge has ruled that Arizona's recently passed law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy save in medical emergencies is constitutional.
U.S. District Judge James Teilborg ruled on Monday that the law, known as House Bill 2036, was constitutional. Teilborg also noted in his decision that the law was beneficial for both the health of the mother and the fetus.
"Given … the finding that the unborn child has developed pain sensors all over its body by 20 weeks gestational age, this Court concludes that the State has shown a legitimate interest in limiting abortions past 20 weeks gestational age," wrote Teilborg.
"Arizona expressed concerns for the health of the pregnant woman, finding that the instance of complications is highest after twenty weeks of gestation. This additional legitimate interest further supports H.B. 2036's regulation on abortions after 20 weeks gestational age."
Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund), said in a statement that the ruling protected "innocent life."
"Every innocent life deserves to be protected. That certainly includes the most vulnerable of all: children in the womb who experience horrific pain when being torn apart in the womb during a late-term abortion like those this law prohibits," said Aden.
"This law also protects mothers from dangerous late-term abortions and their tremendous psychological consequences. The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, who filed this lawsuit, apparently don't care about any of that, preferring to pursue their own agenda. The court was right to thwart their attempts to stop this law."
Also known as the "Mother's Health and Safety Act," HB 2036 was passed by the Ariz. House of Representatives in a vote of 37 to 22 and then passed by the Ariz. State Senate in a vote of 20 to 10. The bill was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 12.
In a statement, Governor Brewer dubbed HB 2036 as "consistent with my strong track record of supporting common sense measures to protect the health of women and safeguard our most vulnerable population – the unborn."
HB 2036 was not the only recently passed abortion-related Arizona law that was brought before the courts. A suit was filed against House Bill 2800, which removes state funding from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
Enforcement of HB 2036 will take effect on Thursday. The law makes Arizona one of 10 states to have a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy save in the event of a medical emergency.