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Federal appeals court questions Arizona's ban on late-term abortions

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to stop an Arizona law which bans doctors from performing abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The way in which the state of Arizona measures gestation is in question. 

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Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery talks to the media in Phoenix in 2011. Montgomery is taking Arizona's earliest-in the-nation ban of most abortions before a panel of 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals judges in San Francisco.

Ross D. Franklin/AP/File

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A federal appeals court panel on Monday sharply questioned lawyers defending an Arizona law that bans late-term abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies, which opponents say is the toughest in the United States.

In San Francisco, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case after it blocked the Republican-backed Arizona law from going into effect earlier this year. Three abortion providers challenged the law in court.

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