PHOENIX, August 2, 2012 ( – The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has granted a last-minute injunction request against Arizona’s new 20-week abortion ban, which is based on an unborn child’s capacity to feel pain.

The Mother’s Health and Safety Act was cleared for implementation this week after a District Court judge dismissed a first attempt at injunction, before the three-judge appeals court panel issued its ruling Thursday. The measure will be on hold through at least October, pending the filing of all related briefs.

“We are relieved that the court blocked this dangerous ban and that women in Arizona will continue to be able to get safe, appropriate medical care,” ACLU staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas said in a statement.

The measure would have banned abortion after 20 weeks gestation based on the wealth of medical evidence that a child has developed a strong sense of touch by at least that age, meaning they would feel the pain of dismemberment that takes place during a D&E abortion, a typical method of abortion at that stage of gestation. The law was brought to court last month by three abortionists.

The attorney who argued on behalf of the state lauded the judge’s decision to expedite the case.

“The order to place the case for argument recognizes the important interests of Arizona, and I look forward to the opportunity to counter the misplaced arguments of the plaintiffs,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement.

Fetal pain legislation has met with success in several states since Nebraska passed the first such bill in 2010, followed by Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Georgia.