A federal judge struck down North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban on Monday, arguing that it is an unconstitutional restriction on a woman’s right to abortion.
The ruling dealt a major blow to the rights of unborn babies in the state. The law has protected unborn babies from late-term abortions for decades in North Carolina.
Reuters reports U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen Jr. struck down the law Monday in response to a lawsuit by three prominent pro-abortion groups.
“[A] state is never allowed to prohibit any swath of pre-viability abortions outright, no matter how strenuously it may believe that such a ban is in the best interests of its citizens or how minimal it may find the burden to women seeking an abortion,” Osteen wrote in his decision.
He argued that his ruling aligns with court decisions that struck down other 20-week abortion bans across the country.
Osteen wrote that he was not creating any new precedent but simply following other federal legal decisions. He pointed specifically to cases out of Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota and Utah that dealt with this or similar topics.
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According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is one of the plaintiffs in the case, “every time a court has considered the constitutionality of a 20 week ban, it has been blocked.”
The state has 60 days to decide whether to appeal, and state Attorney General Josh Stein’s office said they are reviewing the ruling, according to the report.
The court battle has been going on since 2016 when Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights sued to overturn the state’s protections for unborn babies.
The pro-abortion groups rejoiced about the ruling Monday.
“Today’s decision is a victory for the women and doctors of North Carolina,” said Genevieve Scott, an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This ban is unconstitutional and ignores the unique circumstances, challenges, and potential complications pregnant women face. Politicians taking medical options off the table for women at any stage of pregnancy is irrational and dangerous.”
But it is U.S. court decisions that are radical and out of touch on abortion. The U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. Many states have been trying to change that by passing laws to protect unborn babies from abortion in at least some circumstances, but they repeatedly have been thwarted by the abortion industry and activist judges.