Judge weighs request to block Arizona abortion ban

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

 PHOENIX (AP) -- A federal judge is considering whether to block enforcement of a new Arizona abortion ban.

Abortion-rights groups sued to try to block implementation of the ban, which would prohibit abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy  except in medical emergencies.

Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Janet Crepps argued in court Wednesday that the 20-week ban would violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings. She said states can regulate abortions but not ban them before a fetus is viable.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said blocking the ban would condemn fetuses today that can survive tomorrow. He said the ban is a legitimate action by the state to safeguard women's health and protect fetuses from pain.

U.S. District Judge James Teilborg did not rule immediately. The ban takes effect Aug. 2 unless blocked.