The Journal Gazette
Thursday, May 06, 2021 10:30 am

N. Carolina abortion ban after 20 weeks before appeals court

Associated Press


RALEIGH, N.C. – The constitutionality of North Carolina's ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy is being weighed by an appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, scheduled remote oral arguments Thursday by attorneys for abortion providers who sued over the ban and for local prosecutors and state officials who are defendants.

In 2019, U.S. District Judge William Osteen declared the law unconstitutional because the 20-week limit prohibited some abortions before a fetus could live outside the womb. His judgment would allow some women to obtain abortions later, but prior to viability.

The doctors contend they have legal standing to challenge the ban, which they say forced them to turn away patients under the threat of criminal and civil penalties.

State attorneys argue the physicians lack standing, and fear of prosecution is not credible because the ban has never been enforced by the district attorneys sued.

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