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9th Circuit upholds ruling that Idaho’s abortion ban was unconstitutional

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Friday upheld U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill’s earlier decision that Idaho’s “pain-capable abortion” ban was unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the appeals court held that banning abortions from 20 weeks on is “facially unconstitutional because it categorically bans some abortions before viability.”

The court also found other portions of Idaho’s restrictive anti-abortion laws unconstitutional; the decision is online here.

The court challenge was brought by an Idaho woman who was the target of a criminal complaint for self-inducing an abortion via medications that were purchased online and sent to her in the mail.

Idaho lawmakers passed the “pain capable” abortion ban in 2011, saying they believed that at 20 weeks a fetus can feel pain, despite warnings that it likely wouldn’t pass constitutional muster; it was quickly overturned in court.