On Monday, Judge James Teilborg of the United States District Court in Phoenix upheld an Arizona law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in April that bans all abortion procedures at 20 weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period, which is about 18 weeks after fertilization.
It is the most aggressive of the previability abortion bans passed recently by a handful of states. It defies binding Supreme Court precedent that prevents states from banning abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb, which generally occurs at about 24 weeks.
To get around that pesky barrier, Judge Teilborg erroneously characterized Arizona’s outright ban as a permissible “regulation” that limits only “some” previability abortions. To make that argument, he relied, in part, on the fact that the ban contains a dangerously narrow exception for a “medical emergency.”