Nov 5, 2012 4:46 AM by Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's earliest-in the-nation ban of most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy is facing appellate court scrutiny.
A panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges in San Francisco on Monday will hear arguments on the ban.
U.S. District Judge James Teilborg on July 30 refused to block the ban, ruling that it doesn't impose a substantial obstacle to being able to have abortions because women still have time to make decisions.
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' age.