2 Recent Victories In The War On Women (But Don’t Celebrate Yet)

Last week I wrote about the dire situation for women in North Dakota, where the state’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, is fighting to stay open.

The North Dakota struggle continues, but we can celebrate two recent victories in the War on Women.

Victory In Arizona

In 2012, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law what was at the time (before N. Dakota and Arkansas) the country’s most extreme abortion ban: a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, absent a medical emergency.

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court struck down that law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit stated that the Arizona law violated a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable, meaning that it is able to survive outside the womb. That viability is generally considered to start at 22-24 weeks, while normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks.

Judge Marsha Berzon, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, said abortion bans before viability violated numerous U.S. Supreme Court rulings, beginning with the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision, which legalized abortion until a fetus could survive viably outside the womb. Berzon wrote that “a woman has a constitutional right to choose to terminate her pregnancy before the foetus is viable.”

The 9th Circuit is based in San Francisco, and its ruling is binding only in the nine western states under the court’s jurisdiction.

From The Guardian:

Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed the ban into law in April 2012, after it was approved by the Republican-led legislature. Supporters said the law was meant to protect the mother’s health and prevent foetuses from feeling pain. A US district judge, James Teilborg, ruled it was constitutional, partly because of those concerns, but the 9th circuit blocked the ban from going into effect until it ruled.

Victory In Arkansas

In another success story, a federal judge has temporarily blocked an Arkansas law that is even worse than Arizona’s. (One has to wonder: are these Republican legislators in some sort of competition to come up with the most egregious regulations of women’s lives?)

On May 17, U.S. district judge Susan Webber Wright granted a request for a preliminary injunction against an Arkansas law, due to take effect in August, that would have prohibited abortions in the state from 12 weeks of pregnancy, pending a legal challenge from pro-choice groups.

The measure was pushed through in March by Republicans in the legislature, who overrode a veto from Democratic governor Mike Beebe. Almost immediately attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Center for Reproductive Rights got together and sued the state on behalf of two Little Rock abortion providers.

Following the judge’s decision, the ACLU said it would continue to push for a permanent shelving of the proposed ban.

But It’s Not Over Yet

In addition to Arizona, Arkansas and North Dakota, seven other states have enacted similar laws, banning abortions starting at 20 weeks or earlier: Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.

None of these laws has an adequate health exception or an exception for cases or rape or incest.

The good news is that several of those bans have been placed on hold or struck down by other courts, notably in Idaho, where last March a federal judge ruled the 20-week ban unconstitutional.

Let’s celebrate the victories, but keep up the fight for women everywhere.


Photo Credit: thinkstock


Pamela W.
Pamela W3 years ago

Sarah H ....... "Why is this called "war on women"?"

Suggest you ask your friend Bill - there isn't room enough to explain to you here - he can explain to you in a nice long PM ......... he knows all there is to know about it because he's "on the front line" in the battle !!!!!

Dennis D.
Dennis D3 years ago

Sarah H. It is called that because that is what you call an action by people that are trying to roll back legal rights on a segment of a population. For no better reason than a personal and religious reason.

Heather G.
Heather G3 years ago

Cyan really doesn't know what she's talking about. "According to me" like I'm making it up. I'm not. Abortion wasn't criminalized until the 1820's so where does she get 200 years from? Also, it had nothing to do with the "rights of the fetus" she's imagining that.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

Why is this called "war on women"? The war on women is in other countries where they are routinely beaten and abused, not allowed to go in public without a male family member and certainly not drive a car.

Dennis D.
Dennis D3 years ago

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

You cannot currently send a star to Kevin because you have done so within the last day.

Take a handful out of the top drawer, Kevin...

It is obvious to even this none lawyer that Cyan has no idea of what she is writing about. Sadly, I think she is going only on what she has read at the antichoice sites.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

I'm sorry "13th" Amendment.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Cyan said "Why should he not have some right to decide whether an abortion should be obtained or the fetus carried to term?

Nope, the fetus is not in his body and he has no rights to a part of a women's body are to force her into "involuntary servitude," per the 14th Amendment, to carry a fetus to term against her will.'

"Does not the fetus have rights also?"

Nope, never has had any rights, not until viablity.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Aw look Cyan is still crying because she doesn't like Roe v. Wade and with her vast "legal" background, knows more about the Constitution than the U.S. Supreme Court (oh by the way, everything she is writing is just the usual cute and paste bullshit from anti-abortion websites).

The Constitution is a living and breathing document. A right of privacy was always intended in the Bill of Rights. Jeffferson and Madison agreed and talked about the fact that the Bill of Rights was not intended to be "exclusive" of one's unalienable rights, it was intended to outline some of the most important ones and to include within those concepts more general concepts of liberty and individual freedom.

Hey, Cyan, here's a tip, if you are against abortion then don't have one, but keep your views and opinions out of the vaginas, wombs, and uteruses of other women who DO NOT WANT THEM THERE (oh, and just to remind you, Roe v. Wade is still the LAW OF THE LAND!!)

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs3 years ago

The 14th amendment, equal protection of the laws, which many of you pro abortion advocates use to justify abortion (among other justifications) actually causes your justification to fail. Men, without whose sperm life could not occur should have under equal protection of the laws, some rights regarding the life of the fetus, because the fetus has the male's DNA. Why should he not have some right to decide whether an abortion should be obtained or the fetus carried to term? Does not the fetus have rights also? After all, the definition of life is a beating heart, and that can be detected at or prior to 6 wks gestation. Why do 6 old white men get to decide ?

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs3 years ago

Heather. So, according to you, the majority of states and citizens have protected the lives of the unborn for over 200 yrs, and even used the 14th amendment and equal protection of the laws to cover the rights of the fetus, right up to 1973, when 6 old white men and 1 old black man, "discovered" a right to privacy which they decided was broad enough to cover abortion on demand, despite 200 yrs of precedent and values, and went beyond their judicial powers and the facts and merits of the case (lies in every aspect) and struck down all laws of all states regarding fetuses right to life. PPvCasey only left a shell of that ruling and was only a 5-4 ruling. RvW is not "law" but established a medical "rule" which is at least 40 yrs out of date.