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Isaacson v. Horne

716 F.3d 1213 (2013)

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Isaacson v. Horne

United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit

716 F.3d 1213 (2013)

Facts

In 2012 the Arizona House enacted a bill that prohibited abortions prior to 20 weeks of gestation, except in case of a medical emergency. Arizona already had a law prohibiting abortions after viability of the fetus except to save the life or health of the pregnant woman. Section 7 of this new law extended the prohibition on abortion back earlier in a pregnancy to the period between 20 weeks and viability. Under Supreme Court precedent after Roe v. Wade, a woman had a constitutional right to end a pregnancy prior to fetal viability. States could regulate the manner of pre-viability abortions but not proscribe them or place an undue burden on a woman’s decision using regulation. Arizona’s purpose for enacting this law was based on the established risks that abortions after 20 weeks pose to women’s health and the evidence that at 20 weeks of gestation, unborn children feel pain during the abortion procedure. Paul Isaacson (plaintiff) and two other obstetricians-gynecologists practicing in Arizona filed suit on their own behalf and on behalf of their patients to prevent § 7 from being enforced. Isaacson sued Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (defendant), along with two other state defendants and two county-level defendants. The parties were in agreement that fetuses are not viable at 20 weeks of gestation, and a district court declared that viability typically manifests between 23 and 24 weeks.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Berzon, J.)

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