RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) State officials are appealing a federal judge's decision that struck down North Carolina's ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy except in a medical emergency.
A lawyer for North Carolina's Department of Justice filed the notice of appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, hours before the appeal window was to expire.
The department is led by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, who supports abortion rights. Stein said Monday night that's why he won't participate in the appeal, leaving it to career lawyers in the agency.
U.S. District Judge William Osteen declared the law unconstitutional because the 20-week limit prohibited some abortions before a fetus could live outside the womb. His judgment would allow some women to obtain abortions later but prior to viability.