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Supreme Court Lets Stand Lower Court Invalidation of Arizona Pro-Life Law

Katie Harbath

Brantly Millegan - published on 01/12/14 - updated on 06/08/17

The Arizona law had outlawed all abortions before 20 weeks, except in cases in which the mother’s life was threatened.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court declined to hear Arizona’s challenge to a lower court ruling that struck down the state’s ban on abortions before 20 weeks of gestation. The Supreme Court’s ruling means that the state’s pro-life law has been struck down.

Although the ruling directly applies only to the law in Arizona, similar laws exist in 12 other states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Texas.

Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne had argued that new evidence that fetuses might be able to feel pain at 24 weeks means the court should be willing to re-evaluate its older rulings on abortion.

“The Ninth Circuit Court clearly erred,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, according to LifeSiteNews. “The law should reflect our natural recoil from this type of brutality. Arizona legislators, led by pro-life State Rep. Kimberly Yee, were acting on the will of the people when they enacted this compassionate, common sense legislation to protect babies at 20 weeks.”

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards welcomed the ruling. "A dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional law like Arizona's abortion ban should have never passed in the first place. Today, the court did the right thing.”

Direct abortion is always intrinsically evil (as is the direct, intentional killing of any innocent human life), and so all possible legal restrictions are welcomed.

But of course, Arizona’s law and others like it are only the beginning. Let’s be clear: the pro-life movement’s legal goal, at least as the Catholic Church is concerned, is for all abortions to be illegal. As far as pro-choicers see laws like this as only the beginning of restrictions on abortion that will be advocated by pro-lifers, they are absolutely correct.

There is ultimately no middle position. Either abortion is killing of an innocent human life and is always wrong, or it’s . Partial bans such as the one just struck down in Arizona are temporary stop-gaps until the country comes down firmly on one side or the other – and hopefully on the pro-life side.

Brantly Millegan is an Assistant Editor for Aleteia. He is also Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Second Nature, Co-Director of the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity, and is working on a M.A. in Theology at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. He lives with his wife and three children in South St. Paul, MN. His personal website is

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