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Judge says Arizona’s abortion ban can take effect

PHOENIX — Arizona’s ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy is set to take effect this week after a federal judge ruled Monday that the law is constitutional.

US District Judge James Teilborg said the statute may prompt a few pregnant women who are considering abortion to make the decision earlier. But he said the law is constitutional because it does not prohibit any women from deciding to end their pregnancy.

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The ban, which will take effect Thursday, prohibits abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. That is a change from the current ban at viability, which is the ability to survive outside the womb and which is about 24 weeks.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York, said it and another group plan to file an emergency appeal with the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Arizona is one of 10 states to enact types of 20-week bans.

Teilborg said a woman’s right to abortion is not unlimited under the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

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