Court Rules Several Anti-Abortion Measures Can Go Into Effect in Arkansas


On Friday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a judge’s ruling that previously blocked four abortion restrictions in Arkansas, the Associated Press reports. According to the AP and a 2017 report from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the measures that can now go into effect later this month include a ban on a common second-trimester procedure, dilation and evacuation; a law that could require a third party (such as the patient’s partner) to decide how to dispose of the remaining tissue from an abortion; a requirement for doctors to notify local law enforcement when someone 16 years or younger has an abortion procedure; and a requirement for doctors to obtain a patient’s medical records if they know the sex of the fetus in order to ban abortions based on the fetus’s sex. The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights had previously challenged these measures in the state.

CBS News reporter Kate Smith tweeted an explanation about how this ruling relates to June’s Supreme Court ruling on a Louisiana abortion law, which many saw as a win for abortion rights advocates. Smith writes that the appeals court based its decision off the SCOTUS ruling, where Chief Justice John Roberts voted to strike down the anti-abortion law but then wrote in his opinion about whether it was the court’s place to weigh in about “undue burden.” Smith writes, “It’s significant to me that a federal court is using what was painted as a win for abortion rights groups to allow abortion restrictions to be implemented.”

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The AP reports that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge responded to the ruling, saying, “Arkansas has taken a strong stance to protect the unborn from inhumane treatment. As Arkansas’s chief legal officer, I have always advocated for the lives of unborn children and will continue to defend our state’s legal right to protect the unborn.”

Holly Dickson, interim executive director and legal director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement, via the AP, “This ruling is a reminder that the fight against these extreme abortion restrictions is far from won. We are evaluating our next steps and will continue to fight to ensure these harmful and unconstitutional laws do not take effect.”

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