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District Court to hear oral arguments Monday in lawsuit challenging three pro-life Arkansas laws

by | Jul 19, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

It’s official. On Monday the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas will hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging three pro-life laws brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. All three are scheduled to go into effect next Wednesday.

“The plaintiffs requested a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction that would prevent the laws from being enforced,” Kat Stromquist reported. “They argued that the new rules threaten providers’ existence and imperil Arkansans’ constitutional right to abortion.” The three laws are

*Act 619 which protects unborn babies who would be aborted solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

*Act 700 which requires abortion providers to be board-certified.

*Act 493 which bans abortions starting at 18 weeks,

All of these laws passed during this year’s legislative session.

To Stromquist’s credit, she does a yeoman’s job presenting an overview of the state’s defense of its laws:

Wednesday’s 103-page filing says the new laws benefit “society, mothers and the medical profession in a myriad of ways” without limiting access to the procedure.

The state’s attorneys framed the laws as protective of women and fetuses with Down syndrome, arguing that the public interest favors “protecting patient health and safety from ill-trained abortion practitioners and risky abortion practices, safeguarding medical ethics, and preventing eugenics.”

In Wednesday’s filing, [Attorney General Leslie] Rutledge and other attorneys argued that Arkansas is entitled to make rules addressing potential injury to women, including the rule about board certification, which they said was upheld by another court regarding a similar law in Mississippi.

They wrote that the new rules weren’t shown to meaningfully inhibit abortion access even if some Arkansas clinics were to close, citing the existence of abortion services in Memphis; Jackson, Miss.; Tulsa; and other cities.

“Nor do Plaintiffs even attempt to demonstrate that the various phantom burdens conjured in their declarations and purportedly backed by creative accounting outweigh — let alone substantially — the challenged regulations’ undisputed benefits,” the state’s attorneys wrote.

In a statement, AG Rutledge said that she was proud “to defend Arkansas law, particularly when defending Arkansas’ commitment to protect the sanctity of life for mothers and their unborn children.”

Categories: Judicial
Tags: Arkansas