Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against Arkansas Abortion Restrictions

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have won the latest round of a court battle to block four new restrictions on abortions in the state of Arkansas.

On Friday, a U.S. district court judge issued an injunction to temporarily block the restrictions, which include a ban on dilation and evacuation, a common second-trimester procedure, the Associated Press reported. The rights groups had sued on behalf of abortion provider Dr. Frederick Hopkins.

Another restriction that was blocked reportedly would require a woman to contact a third party, such as a sexual partner or her parents, before determining how fetal tissue from an abortion would be disposed of. The state has claimed this argument is inaccurate.


But Judge Kristine Baker said the threat to women’s health from the restrictions is far greater than any potential damage to the state an injunction would cause. She added that the tissue disposal requirements would delay care and discourage doctors from providing abortions.

Three of the restrictions were set to take effect next week, while a fourth would have been implemented in January.

“For these reasons, the Court is not convinced that importing the [disposal law’s] complex requirements for authorization advances a public health goal,” Baker wrote, according to the AP. “These requirements also do not advance interests in women’s health because delay and other negative effects instead threaten women’s health and wellbeing.”

Another restriction that was temporarily blocked would ban abortions that are based on a fetus’ sex. A fourth provision would have required doctors to take certain steps such as preserving embryonic tissue or notifying police for abortions performed on women under 17. That rule currently applies to people under 14.


Earlier this month, the ACLU had argued before Judge Baker that the provisions are unconstitutional.

The report notes that bans on dilation and evacuation already are in place in Mississippi and West Virginia, and are set to take effect in Texas later this year. Similar bans in other states have been blocked by court challenges, according to the AP.

Weekend Editor, Splinter

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