First 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Ban Struck Down by Court

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First 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Ban Struck Down by Court


A U.S. district judge has overturned Idaho's so-called "fetal pain" law, a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy -- the point at which a fetus reportedly begins to feel pain, Christianity Today reports. Lawyers for plaintiff Jennie Linn McCormack had argued that the law unjustly punished women, and Judge B. Lynn Winmill, citing Roe v. Wade, wrote that "the state may not rely on its interest in the potential life of the fetus to place a substantial obstacle to abortion before viability in women's paths." Attorney Richard Hearn told the Huffington Post that "Winmill's ruling makes it clear that any attempts by states to ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb are unconstitutional." However, of the 10 states with existing fetal pain laws on the books, only three have faced legal challenges. Nebraska was the first state to adopt such a law in 2009, and Idaho was one of seven states to enact bans on abortions after 20 weeks. Earlier this month, Arkansas approved a ban on abortions after 12 weeks, becoming one of the most restrictive bans in the nation. According to Politico, many experts say fetal pain laws could be the next abortion debate battlefield and "could reach the Supreme Court."

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