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Federal judge upholds Arizona's new law banning late-term abortions

PHOENIX -- The executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference praised U.S. District Court Judge James A. Teilborg for upholding Arizona's recently enacted ban on abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of medical emergency.

Ron Johnson said he was "absolutely thrilled with the decision from the federal court." Johnson, who worked with Arizona legislators to help get the measure passed, said that "it's been frustrating at times" when courts overturn hard-won legislation.

"It's extremely rewarding when we get the legislation passed and the court upholds (it)," Johnson said, calling the new law "sensible and very positive legislation."

In his July 30 ruling, Teilborg wrote that the Arizona Legislature had written the law -- known as H.B. 2036 -- based on "the substantial and well-documented evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks gestational age."

Supporters of the law said that it also protects women from increased risks incurred in late-term abortions.

Arizona court affirms state abortion limits

PHOENIX -- Just two years ago, those attending the annual luncheon of parish respect life coordinators in the Phoenix Diocese were rather discouraged as they faced a new, pro-abortion administration in Washington and the specter of the Freedom of Choice Act that threatened to guarantee abortion rights and negate federal, state and municipal restrictions on abortion.

But this year's gathering Aug. 19 came a day after the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that restrictions on abortion passed by the state Legislature were both reasonable and constitutional.

"We didn't give up, did we? We kept moving and we're certainly not there, but since that time we've been abundantly blessed, especially in Arizona," said Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference. "We really need to give thanks for these great laws."

Following the Court of Appeals decision, Planned Parenthood announced that effective Aug. 22, it would no longer perform abortions at seven of its Arizona clinics. That leaves Glendale, Tempe and Tucson as the only sites where Planned Parenthood will provide surgical abortions.