No 'Postelection Letup' in Legal Fights Over Abortion, New York Times Editorial States

November 8, 2012 — "No one should expect a postelection letup in the continuing courtroom fights over state efforts to restrict women's access to safe and legal abortions," a New York Times editorial states. It highlights two separate appeals court cases that "show how intense these battles have become and how important it is for basic women's rights to prevail."

One case, which is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, "tests the constitutionality of an Arizona law [HB 2036], signed by Gov. Jan Brewer [R] in April, that bans all abortion procedures beyond 20 weeks from a woman's last menstrual period, or about 18 weeks after fertilization," the editorial explains. It adds that the law "is the most aggressive of the 'previability' abortion bans enacted recently by a handful of states" and "defies Supreme Court precedent barring states from banning abortions before the fetus has reached a point where it can survive outside the womb."

Another case that "urgently needs review" is a decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold "a 2004 Ohio law [Section 2919.123 (A)] that limits a woman's right to choose to have a first-trimester abortion with the drug mifepristone."

The editorial notes that the law is based on an FDA "protocol that is no longer medically supportable" and "leaves women who might safely opt for a medication abortion between 49 and 63 days of pregnancy with only a surgical option." The editorial concludes, "The full appeals court should grant Planned Parenthood's request for a rehearing, then strike down a law that denies access to a safe, widely used method for terminating a pregnancy" (New York Times, 11/6).