ACLU Takes Fight Against Arkansas Abortion Bans and Restrictions to 8th Circuit

If allowed to take effect, the restrictions would leave Arkansas with just one abortion clinic providing only limited care

December 30, 2019 2:00 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

LITTLE ROCK — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arkansas filed their brief with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals today in their challenge to a set of Arkansas abortion bans and restrictions. The laws included a ban on abortion starting at 18 weeks of pregnancy, a ban on abortion based on a patient’s reason for seeking care, and a law prohibiting qualified physicians from providing abortions.

The ACLU successfully blocked these anti-abortion measures with a preliminary injunction in August — a win that the state of Arkansas appealed the same day the ruling was decided. The state has asked the 8th Circuit to overturn the district court’s order blocking the laws from taking effect. If allowed to take effect, these restrictions would completely block many people from obtaining abortion care and would eventually leave the state with a single health center providing only limited abortion care.

“No one should have to contend with the insurmountable obstacles that these three laws would impose in order to access their constitutional right to abortion,” said Meagan Burrows, a staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “The district court’s order blocking these laws from taking effect recognizes this, and we will continue to work hard at the appellate court level to ensure that abortion remains safe and accessible for all.”

“These extreme bans and restrictions would decimate abortion access in Arkansas,” said Holly Dickson, legal director and interim executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “We will continue this fight to ensure our clients can continue to provide quality, compassionate medical care while we work to strike down these laws for good.”

The lawsuit, which challenged three laws, was filed by the ACLU, the ACLU of Arkansas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP on behalf of Little Rock Family Planning Services, Planned Parenthood Great Plains, and two physician providers.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release