/ Modified jan 13, 2014 12:31 p.m.

Supreme Court Rejects AZ's 20-Week Abortion Ban

State had appealed lower court ruling blocking law; opponents say 2012 legislation violated women's rights.

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Arizona cannot ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, that's after the Supreme Court denied hearing a challenge to a lower court's decision to strike down the ban Monday.

Reproductive rights groups in favor of the decision, while anti-abortion groups expressed disappointment with the court's decision to stand by the lower court's ruling.

State Sen. Kimberly Yee, who sponsored the bill signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2012, said in a statement that the ruling means the government has fallen short of its duty to protect life.

Toni Massaro, a constitutional law professor at the UA, said the decision may mean that the justices are not interested in interfering with the lower court's ruling at this time.

“It may be, though it’s always hard to tell when the court does this it doesn’t provide reasons, it may be that there’s not yet a conflict among the circuits," Massaro said. "The court gets thousands of requests to hear cases every year and it only actually takes about 80-90 of them. So it may have felt that there’s not a sufficient conflict in the lower courts that it needs to resolve.”

Since 2010 nearly a dozen states have passed similar bans, with successful challenges in Georgia, Idaho and now Arizona.

The laws are an attempt to change the legal status of fetal viability from 24 weeks, as outlined by Roe v. Wade in 1973, to 20 weeks.

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