The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined enforcement of provisions of Arizona House Bill 2036, which restricts abortions from 20 weeks gestational age, in August. Though the court halted the bill 12 hours before it was due to take effect, the court agreed to fast-track briefing and argument in the appeals process.
In an answering brief submitted this week, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery argued that the Ninth Circuit should uphold the law because there is no constitutional right to abortions on demand, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
Montgomery claims that women have a protection only against “undue interference” by the state, and that Arizona bill does not cross that line.
Janet Creps, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, maintains that “it is the woman - not Arizona - who decides whether and when she will terminate her pregnancy,” according to the Daily Star.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed H.B. 2036 into law in April 2012. The bill restricts and criminalizes abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later, except in a “medical emergency.”
The law’s supporters claim that H.B. 2036 protects maternal health, because abortions at 20 weeks or beyond are more dangerous than procedures performed earlier in pregnancy. They also said there is evidence that a fetus at that stage of development can feel pain, YumaSun.com reports.
The injunction order placed H.B. 2036 on hold for at least two months, if not longer, reports YumaSun.com. The case, Isaacson v. Horne, will be placed on the first available argument calendar following the completion of briefing.