A federal appeals court Wednesday temporarily prohibited Arizona from enforcing its new ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued its order two days after a trial judge ruled that the ban could take effect as scheduled Thursday.

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The appellate court says it will hold a hearing as soon as possible this fall.

Abortion-rights groups appealed U.S. District Judge James Teilborg's ruling that the ban is constitutional.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in April, making Arizona one of 10 states to enact types of 20-week bans.

Arizona's ban applies except in medical emergencies. It would replace one that starts at viability, the ability to survive outside the womb and generally is considered to be about 24 weeks.

Read the 9th Circuit Order: View at Google Docs | Download File