Provisions of Law Would Put Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women in the State

June 20, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arkansas, and the Center for Reproductive Rights today filed suit to block four Arkansas laws that would heavily restrict or outright ban abortion in the state.

The federal lawsuit challenges four new provisions in Arkansas law that would:

  • Ban a safe and medically proven abortion method, making abortion care completely unavailable for some women as a pregnancy progresses
  • Require notification of the woman’s partner or other family members and effectively allow them to block her abortion
  • Create new, needless, and burdensome requirements to report a young woman’s abortion to local police in a way that invades her and her family’s medical privacy — on top of the already robust and appropriate mandatory reporting to state authorities
  • Force doctors to request a vast number of medical records with no medical justification, all in an attempt to burden providers, violate physician-patient confidentiality, and delay or outright block women’s care.

The first three provisions are set to go into effect on July 30, 2017, and the fourth takes effect January 1, 2018.

Another Arkansas law, which targets abortion providers for medically unnecessary overregulation, was also challenged today in a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood Great Plains and the ACLU.

The legal team had the following reactions:

Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project: “Arkansas politicians have passed extreme abortion bans that put their political agenda ahead of women’s health. No more. We’re fighting back.”

Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas: “Instead of protecting women’s health, Arkansas politicians have passed laws that defy decency and reason just to make it difficult or impossible for a woman to get an abortion. They’ve created burdensome bureaucratic hurdles that invade patient privacy.”

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights: “Arkansas politicians have devised new and cruel ways to rob women of their right to safe and legal abortion this year—and we're fighting back. From essentially banning abortion in the second trimester to violating women's privacy, these measures represent a new low. The Supreme Court made clear one year ago in Whole Woman’s Health that politicians can’t stand between women and their constitutional rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights will continue to use the full force of the law to ensure these rights are protected and respected for all women.”

More about this case can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/hopkins-v-jegley-challenge-arkansas-law-restricting-abortion-rights

The complaint can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/hopkins-v-jegley-complaint

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