Hearing over Arizona's abortion law gets underway in federal court

4:38 PM, Nov 5, 2012   |    comments
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court in San Francisco has begun grappling with the constitutionality of Arizona's abortion law, which is considered the most restrictive in the country as it prohibits abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Three Arizona obstetrician-gynecologists are challenging the law in federal court.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals began considering the issue Monday after a lower-court judge upheld the law.

Supporters justify the ban by arguing that fetuses can feel pain as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy and that women face more health risks from later abortions. Critics dispute both contentions.

Nine other states also have 20-week bans, but the Arizona ban is earliest because it uses a different starting point to calculate a fetus's age.

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