UPDATE, 7/24/19: NPR reports that Judge Kristine Baker has granted the plaintiffs a 14-day restraining order against Arkansas’ three new abortion restrictions, “including a requirement that physicians providing the procedure be board-certified — a move that would likely have caused the closure of the state’s only surgical abortion clinic.”
The clinic in question, Little Rock Family Planning Services, and Planned Parenthood, backed by the ACLU of Arkansas, challenged the restrictions that also included a ban on abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy and one that would prevent a woman from obtaining an aborting solely for the reason that the fetus was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
7/23/19: National abortion giant Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are suing to prevent several pro-life laws in Arkansas from going into effect that would, among other things, make it illegal to abort a baby solely because he or she has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. The lawsuit was filed last month, and the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction before the law goes into effect on July 24th.
The lawsuit seeks to challenge three pro-life laws passed this year in Arkansas. Act 493 outlaws abortion before 18 weeks of pregancy with exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies, which would constitute a further restriction on the current law which prevents abortions after 20 weeks. The abortion activist plaintiffs also hope to abolish Act 700, a common sense requirement that abortionists be board-certified or board-eligible in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as Act 619, which prohibits discriminatory disability-selective abortions done solely on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
The state’s attorney general characterized these laws as important both to mothers and preborn babies in the womb saying public interest favors “protecting patient health and safety from ill-trained abortion practitioners and risky abortion practices, safeguarding medical ethics, and preventing eugenics.”
But according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the plaintiffs claim that the laws “will require Plaintiffs to turn away women seeking abortion care” because they would be unable to meet minimum standards. The abortion activists seem, in effect, to be asserting that abortions must be committed, however unsafe.
US District Court Judge Kristine Baker heard oral arguments Monday. Lori Williams, director of Little Rock Family Planning Services, claimed the physician requirements were too stringent, and if they were put into place, the facility would have only one compliant abortionist who flies in from California a few days every other month. According to the Washington Post, Williams sent a letter to every OB/GYN in the state, inquiring if any were board-certified or eligible and who might be willing to work at her facility. She has not heard back from any of them.
If the judgment in the lawsuit favors the state of Arkansas, non-compliant and unsafe clinics would shutter, and only one non-surgical clinic in the state would be able to meet the minimum safety requirements of the law. One other abortion clinic closed earlier this month.
The pro-abortion ACLU is firmly against the wave of pro-life laws currently sweeping the country. “These dangerously extreme bans and restrictions are part of a nationwide effort to criminalize abortion, while punishing providers and shaming families seeking care,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas legal director in a statement on the ACLU website.
Judge Baker did not rule on an injunction after the hearing, but said she would issue a written decision at a later time.
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