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Lost U.S. Courts of Appeals

Horne v. Isaacson

Baby's Feet


Arizona joined a growing number of states in enacting a law restricting abortions after 20 weeks gestation, the half-way point of a pregnancy. Acknowledging a growing body of evidence that unborn children at this point feel the pain of abortion and that abortions after this point are more dangerous to the mother the state restricted abortions after this point with limited exceptions.

Abortionists challenged the law, and ADF assisted in its defense. An Arizona federal court upheld the law, explaining that “[g]iven the nature of D&Es and induction abortions…, and the finding that the unborn child has developed pain sensors all over its body by 20 weeks gestational age, this Court concludes that the State has shown a legitimate interest in limiting abortions past 20 weeks gestational age. Further, in promulgating H.B. 2036, Arizona expressed concerns for the health of the pregnant woman, finding that the instance of complications is highest after twenty weeks of gestation. This additional legitimate interest further supports H.B. 2036’s regulation on abortions after 20 weeks gestational age….”

When the ACLU and Center for Reproductive Rights appealed the decision, ADF filed an amicus brief defending the law. Nevertheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the state’s argument and stopped Arizona from enforcing the law. ADF and allied attorneys working with us then sought review by the Supreme Court, but in January 2014 the Court declined to hear the case.

What's at stake

Saving lives and reversing Roe v. Wade by passing legislation that protects babies in the womb when they can already feel pain.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom served as co-counsel for the Maricopa County (AZ) Attorney in seeking review by the Supreme Court of the decision by the Ninth Circuit striking down the law as unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.