A federal appeals court has temporarily halted a controversial Arizona law that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The decision is a victory for abortion-rights advocates who have sought to block the enforcement of the new law, which was scheduled to take effect on Thursday.
The law, which was passed by the state’s Republican legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in April, would criminalize most abortions after 20 weeks except in medical emergencies.
The decision comes just two days after a federal judge refused to block the statute, saying it didn’t impose a “substantial obstacle” to the procedure and was consistent with standards set by federal courts, and that Arizona had the right to enact such a law.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a request by opponents of the law to temporarily halt enforcement, pending an appeal of the lower court’s ruling.