By Dave Andrusko
Without comment, the Supreme Court today declined to review a lower court decision that a 2012 Arizona law that bans abortion after 18 weeks fetal age is unconstitutional.
Arizona’s ‘Mother’s Health and Safety Act’ is different than the NRLC model legislation that has passed in ten states.
NRLC’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act protects unborn children from abortion beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on scientific evidence that by this stage of development the child would experience excruciating pain.
It is the Supreme Court’s custom not to comment on why it turns down appeals, in this case from Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who asked the justices to review a May decision made by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
One factor in determining whether the justices hear a case is if there has been a split among circuit courts. That was the case, for example, with respect to the HHS mandate which compels employers to provide health coverage for drugs and procedures to which they have moral or religious objections. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals circuit and the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals reached different conclusions.
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In November the Supreme Court agreed to hear the two cases (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.) Last week the Supreme Court said it would hear oral arguments March 25.
However, there has been no comparable split among circuit courts. It is undoubtedly no accident that while the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the constitutionality of Arizona’s law (in Horne v. Isaacson), they did not challenge Texas’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which went into effect last October.