On Wednesday in the United States, a Federal Court of Appeal struck down the law in the State of Arkansas that bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, confirming that the decision of a lower court had already blocked it last year, prior to its application.
As far as the Court of Appeal is concerned, “by banning abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy, the law prevents women from making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy before the foetus becomes viable”. In fact, the Federal Court deemed that restrictions on abortion should be based more so on the ability of the foetus to live outside the uterus than on the presence of a foetal heart rate.
Although the previous judgment blocked the application of the law, some elements were nevertheless preserved such as the obligation for doctors to tell women whether or not a foetal heart beat had been detected. This legal obligation was retained by the Court of Appeal per se.
The court has nevertheless recognised that medical and technological progress make it increasingly difficult to apply the 1992 standard regarding the viability of the child, which is regularly shifted to be more in line with conception.
Reuters (27/05/2015) – Abc News (27/05/2015) – The New York Times (27/05/2015)