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Federal Court Strikes Down Idaho Law Banning Abortions after 20 Weeks

Federal Court Strikes Down Idaho Law Banning Abortions after 20 Weeks

A pro-life law in Idaho that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks has been struck down.

A federal appeals court ruled that banning abortions after 20 weeks is unconstitutional. The ruling comes just weeks after the House of Representatives approved a bill that banned abortions after 20 weeks.

In 2011, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter approved the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law. 

Jennie Linn McCormack, a Pocatello resident, filed suit over the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act after she was prosecuted for self-abortion. Originally, she had sued over an older law that makes it a crime to self-abort, but the charge against her was dismissed.

She then filed her suit claiming that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, claiming it limits legal abortions for women.

In the ruling, Judge Harry Pregerson wrote that the Idaho law “places an arbitrary time limit on when women can obtain abortions.”

Pro-life activists have said that the time limit is not arbitrary and that the law is poised to go before the Supreme Court.

New studies reportedly have shown that babies survive earlier in pregnancy and that unborn babies feel pain at 20 weeks.

“We have always recognized that it will take a decision by the Supreme Court to allow expanded protection of unborn children capable of feeling pain, and there are strong indications that five of the sitting Justices would look with sympathy on a law providing such protection,” Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews

“The next step will be an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, followed, after its decision, by a request to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.”

Publication date: June 1, 2015