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Pro-abortion judge surprisingly turns down PPFA’s latest request for preliminary injunction against Arkansas pro-life law

by | Jul 31, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Judge Kristine Baker

Granted the merits of the case are still in the judicial pipeline, but for pro-abortion U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to say no to any Planned Parenthood request is almost mind-boggling.

Twice Judge Baker accepted uncritically the argument offered by two Arkansas Planned Parenthood clinics , enjoined the state’s “Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act,” and gave Planned Parenthood preliminary injunctions.

Last August 16, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and vacated her decision, allowing Arkansas to enforce Act 577 which requires abortion clinics providing chemical abortifacients to have a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a local hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

After the Supreme Court rejected still another appeal, undeterred, Planned Parenthood went back to Judge Baker.

Which brings us to Monday where, according to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Linda Satter, Judge Baker responded negatively to Planned Parenthood’s pursuit of “a new preliminary injunction under alternative grounds.”

The two-fold argument combines equal protection (for the plaintiffs) and that the state action “penalized the provider for advocating for reproductive freedom and/or associating with abortion, in violation of the First Amendment”( for the abortion clinic).

Surprisingly, Judge Baker wrote that the clinics “have not met their burden of proof for a preliminary injunction on their constitutional claims.” Satter explained that Baker

cited disagreement on similar First Amendment issues in courts across the country as preventing the plaintiffs from establishing they are likely to succeed on the retaliation claim. A likelihood of prevailing is a necessary condition for a preliminary injunction. She said the plaintiffs also haven’t established a likely ultimate victory on their equal protection claims.

To be clear the merits of the case are yet to be decided, but this is the first setback in Judge Baker’s court for Planned Parenthood.

The allusion to “similar First Amendment issues” presumably includes an almost exact parallel case in Missouri. Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri challenged a regulation issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in October 2017. That DHSS regulation required that abortion providers performing chemical abortions have two Ob-Gyns on call 24/7 who have admitting privileges.

On June 12 Judge Beth Phillips ruled that Planned Parenthood affiliates had not shown that the regulation “is a substantial burden to a large fraction of women seeking a medication abortion.”

Categories: Judicial