Federal Court Blocks Arkansas Abortion Bans and Restrictions

The laws would have left the state with only one abortion provider able to provide only limited abortion care

August 6, 2019 6:15 pm

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LITTLE ROCK – A federal district court in Arkansas has issued a preliminary injunction blocking a set of abortion bans and restrictions from taking effect while a lawsuit challenging the laws proceeds. Last month, the court issued a 14-day temporary restraining order, which was set to expire today.

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 lawsuit 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 (PPGP), and two physician providers, and challenged three laws.

“These extreme bans and restrictions would have decimated abortion access in Arkansas, so we’re relieved the court has again blocked them from taking effect,” said Holly Dickson, legal director and interim executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “This ruling ensures our clients can continue to provide quality, compassionate medical care to Arkansans while we work to strike down these laws for good.”

“In the last few years, politicians in Arkansas have passed twenty-five restrictions aimed at making it near impossible for a person who needs an abortion to actually get one,” said Meagan Burrows, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “We are pleased that the court today put the brakes on the government’s latest effort to force people to attempt to overcome insurmountable obstacles just to get the care they need and that the Constitution protects.”

Had the challenged laws been permitted to take effect, people in the state would be left with a single health center which could provide only limited abortion care.

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