This has been a hectic week for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
On Monday, lawyers persuaded a Mississippi federal judge to continue a temporary order blocking enforcement of a state law designed to make that state "abortion free." A longer term ruling is expected soon.
On Tuesday, CRR's first task of the day was to petition the 4th Circuit of Appeals for an en banc rehearing of Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, which we discussed last week.
Then, along with the ACLU, the Center filed a challenge to Arizona's new 20-week abortion ban. The law was enacted on April 12th and is set to go into effect on August 2nd unless the US District Court grants petitioners' request for a preliminary injunction.
Like several other recently enacted anti-choice statutes, it severely limits access to abortion at 20 weeks of "gestational age," that is, after the first day of the woman's last menstrual period. Although the terminology appears to create an effective 18-week ban because conception can occur up to two weeks after this date, at least one physician/blogger disputes this argument.
Either way, however, the timing is potentially dangerous for pregnant women because it coincides with the first availability of several common pre-natal tests. Even if a serious complication presents itself at this juncture, the only exception to the ban is
"a condition that, on the basis of the physician’s good faith clinical judgment,
so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate
the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a
delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a
major bodily function." (HB 2036 § 3)
The suit, Paul A. Isaacson, M.D v. Tom Horne, Attorney General of Arizona, was filed on behalf of three OB/GYNs in the state. The complaint is available on CRR's web site.