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National Right to Life Praises 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for Ruling on Injunctions of Arkansas Abortion Laws

by | Aug 7, 2020

WASHINGTON— The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals today vacated a decision by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker that enjoined four pro-life laws passed by the Arkansas General Assembly in 2017. The three-judge panel said that the laws should be reconsidered in light of the concurring opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in June Medical LLC. v. Russo.

“We are pleased these laws passed. Cruel dismemberment abortions are barbaric and sadistic and should be allowed in a civilized society,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “No living unborn child should be killed by having its limbs pulled off one by one.”

In 2017, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, the Sex Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, an amendment regarding the disposal of fetal remains, and an amendment concerning forensic samples from abortions performed on a minor.

In the 2007, in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Gonzales v. Carhart, the High Court held that protecting unborn children from the brutal inhumanity of partial-birth abortion did not impose an unconstitutional “undue burden” on abortion because other methods could be used. Similarly, the current Dismemberment Ban is prohibiting one particularly brutal type of abortion, one that tears apart a living unborn child.

In his dissent to the 2000 Stenberg decision, then-Justice Anthony Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”

Since the 2007 Gonzales decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has heard two abortion-related cases—one on clinic health regulations, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2015), the other on admitting privileges, June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo (2020). Today’s appeals court decision in Arkansas points to Chief Justice Roberts’s reasoning in the recently decided 2020 June Medical decision.

“According to Chief Justice Roberts, the appropriate inquiry underCasey is whether the law poses ‘a substantial obstacle’ or ‘substantial burden, not whether benefits outweighed burdens.’” Based on this new guidance from the Supreme Court, they instructed the lower court to use the correct standard “which is controlling” when reviewing the Arkansas Dismemberment Law.

“We believe that under the standard set forth in the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood that this law will prevail,” said Tobias. “We know these laws will protect the lives of unborn children, and spare unborn babies from being brutally killed by dismemberment abortion or targeted because of having a disability.”

Twelve states have passed bans on the horrific practice of dismembering live unborn babies. Bans on such gruesome practices are a primary emphasis of National Right to Life and its state affiliates.

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