Court overturns 'fetal pain' law

March 10, 2013 at 5:26 PM

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. District Court ruled unconstitutional Idaho's "fetal pain" law, which bans most abortions after 20 weeks.

Fetal pain laws, which state fetuses 20 weeks and older experience pain, have been enacted in a growing number of states and fly in the face of the 1973 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion up until fetal viability at 23 or 24 weeks of gestation, Washington's Politico reported Friday.

"This ruling is a warning to other states around the country that are passing bans on abortion that are unconstitutional and dangerous for women," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Many experts in the abortion debate, however, say states' fetal pain laws could end up in the Supreme Court.

"We have always recognized that it will take a decision by the Supreme Court to allow expanded protection of unborn children capable of feeling pain, and there are strong indications that five of the sitting justices would look with sympathy on a law providing such protection," said Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, which helped to craft the model legislation used in Idaho.

Balch said there will be an appeal of Wednesday's decision in Idaho to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


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