Federal Appeals Court Begins Hearing Arguments On Ariz. Abortion Restrictions

A federal appeals court began hearing arguments Monday challenging Arizona's ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy -- sharply questioning lawyers arguing the case.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Federal Appeals Court Begins Hearing Arguments For And Against Arizona's 20-Week Abortion Ban
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal cast a skeptical eye Monday on the country's most-restrictive abortion law, which prohibits the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless there's a medical emergency. Even Judge Andrew Kleinfeld, a reliably conservative jurist appointed to the appeals court by former President George H.W. Bush, said Arizona's law appears to wrongly prohibit abortions before "viability," when the fetus can live outside the womb. Viability is generally considered to occur sometime after 23 weeks of pregnancy. The county's seminal Supreme Court 1973 abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, said states cannot prohibit abortions outright prior to viability (11/5).

Reuters: Appeals Court Questions Arizona's Late-Term Abortion Ban
A federal appeals court panel on Monday sharply questioned lawyers defending an Arizona law that bans late-term abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies, which opponents say is the toughest in the United States. In San Francisco, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case after it blocked the Republican-backed Arizona law from going into effect earlier this year (Cohen, 11/5).

In Michigan, a federal judge blocked -- for one employer -- the health law's mandate that they cover contraception in their health plan.

The New York Times: Michigan Judge Temporarily Blocks Health Law Mandate On Birth Control
A federal judge has issued an order shielding a Michigan business from a requirement of the new health care law to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives at no charge to female employees (Pear, 11/5).

The Texas Tribune: Updated Interactive: Where Are The Women's Health Program Providers?
As Texas continues a legal battle with Planned Parenthood, the Women’s Health Program remains unchanged — for now. And so does the looming question: Will Texas have enough providers in its health care network for the Texas Women's Health Program if the state succeeds in court and ousts Planned Parenthood? In March, Perry pledged the state would forgo millions of federal dollars and launch the Texas Women's Health Program, so that the state could implement its "Affiliate Ban Rule," which lawmakers approved during the 2011 legislative session to bar clinics affiliated with abortion providers from participating in the program (Aaronson, 11/6).

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