Eighth Circuit Appeals Court upholds injunction against two more Arkansas pro-life laws

pro-life, heartbeat law, Trump, family planning

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a district judge’s injunction blocking two 2019 pro-life laws in Arkansas. The first law would have banned abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy while the second would have banned abortion based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. A third law, which states that the person committing the abortion must be a licensed physician “board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology” was ruled moot because the sole surgical abortion business in Arkansas — Little Rock Family Planning Services — now complies with that law.

Act 493 sought to ban abortion businesses from committing an abortion when the “probable age” of the preborn child was “determined to be greater than eighteen weeks’ gestation” with exceptions to allow late-term abortions for medical emergencies (although deliberately killing a preborn child is never truly medically necessary) and to allow late-term abortions on babies conceived in rape or incest.

Act 619 sought to ban abortions committed “solely on the basis” of a test indicating the baby may have Down syndrome, or any other reason to think the baby may have Down syndrome, with exceptions for the life of the mother or if the child were conceived in rape or incest. These laws sought not to impose an obstacle to women, but to protect preborn children from discriminatory killing.

“Before viability, a State ‘may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy,’ said the court. “It also may not impose upon the right an undue burden, which exists if a regulation’s ‘purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.”

In July 2019, District Court Judge Kristine Baker, an Obama appointee, issued a temporary injunction against the pro-life laws, saying that the state should not enforce those laws until their constitutionality has been decided. Baker stated that she believed the laws would cause “imminent irreparable harm” to women. However, the trauma of abortion has a well-documented association with an increased risk of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts in women.

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