American Scene: Arizona 20-week abortion ban blocked by court

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PHOENIX — A federal appeals court is temporarily prohibiting Arizona from enforcing its new ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued its order Wednesday, two days after a trial judge ruled that the ban could take effect as scheduled Thursday.

The appellate court said it will hold a hearing as soon as possible this fall.

Abortion rights groups appealed U.S. District Judge James Teilborg’s ruling that the ban is constitutional.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in April, making Arizona one of 10 states to enact types of a 20-week restriction.

Arizona’s ban applies except in medical emergencies. It would replace one that starts at viability, the ability to survive outside the womb and generally is considered to be about 24 weeks.

Heavy flooding forces rescues, highway closure

PHOENIX — Fast-moving water trapped a baby and several others in their vehicles and forced the closure of a well-traveled highway as a dust storm and monsoon blew through the Phoenix area.

The storm, carrying pea-sized hail, flooded homes, knocked out power to area residents and collapsed a backyard fence late Tuesday. Firefighters rescued nine people from four vehicles on a highway west of Interstate 17 near Phoenix.

Alexis Zuniga, who was among those rescued, said the flooding was immediate, building up at least a foot every five minutes.

“We had to hold onto the brake the entire time, and then we just waited for help,” she told Phoenix television station KPNX.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Scott McDonald said it took an hour to rescue the people from their vehicles Tuesday amid the fast-moving water that rose to 4 feet at one point, the Arizona Republic reported.

COLORADO

Blast at school injures workers

ERIE — Three construction workers have been injured in an explosion and partial roof collapse at a middle school east of Boulder.

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