Pro-life Idaho law banning 20-week abortions struck down by appeals court

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |

SAN FRANCISCO (Christian Examiner) - Just a few weeks after the House of Representatives passed a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down an Idaho law that bans abortions after 20 weeks.

The Idaho law was signed into law four years ago -- the third of its kind at the time -- called the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," designed to shield an unborn child from pain during an abortion procedure.

The lawsuit was the first of its kind brought against any of those that have been passed, according to

The woman at the center of the case, Jennie McCormack, faced prosecution for using a drug she purchased off the internet, according to the article. A story in the Los Angeles Times said surgical abortions were unavailable where she lived in southeast Idaho.

McCormack induced an abortion at home and the child was between 19 and 23 weeks which meant she was potentially within the timeframe of having committed a crime, although the Lifenews article indicated McCormack's attorneys and the appeals court cited viability as the reason for its decision.

Using a 1972 law, the court disregarded newer studies showing unborn babies develop pain sensation as early as 8 weeks, but definitely by the time they are at 13.5 week gestation.

"With new studies showing babies surviving earier in pregnancy and studies confirming unborn babies feel pain at least at 20 weeks, the case is ripe for Supreme Court review and a potential decision moving up viability and a state's ability to protect babies from abortions earlier in the pregnancy," said.