NRL News

8th circuit hears Arkansas’ request to vacate injunction blocking enforcement of three pro-life laws

by | Sep 23, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

Here we go. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is in court today requesting that a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis vacate U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker’s injunction and allow three laws passed in 2019 to be enforced. 

The trio of laws are familiar to readers of NRL News Today and are not to be confused with a separate three-judge panel which vacated another decision by Judge Baker who had issued a preliminary injunction against four pro-life Arkansas bills passed in 2017.

Those three 2019 laws are 

#1 is Act 493, which prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy.

#2  is Act 619 which bans abortions  “with the knowledge” that a woman is seeking it “solely on the basis” of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. 

#3 is Act 700 which requires doctors who perform abortions in Arkansas to be board-certified or board-eligible OB-GYNs.

Linda Satter, who covers abortion-related stories for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette gives additional context. She writes

On Aug. 21, Rutledge’s office notified the 8th Circuit that on Aug. 6, the state Medical Board temporarily suspended the medical license of Tom Tvedten, one of the abortion doctors for the Little Rock Family Planning clinic, which is the plaintiff in the case along with Tvedten. Rutledge’s letter said the board alleged that Tvedten “exhibited gross negligence and ignorant malpractice” in certifying a 12-year-old child diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder for a medical marijuana card, suggesting a therapeutic trial of edible marijuana without consulting the child’s psychiatrists.

Rutledge’s letter said the board called Tvedten’s continued practice of medicine “a danger to the public” and suspended his license pending an Oct. 1 hearing. She noted it was Tvedten’s second disciplinary action involving controlled substances.

“With this suspension, Tvedten cannot perform abortions,” Rutledge told the appellate judges. “He thus has no standing to pursue his claims.”

She said that erases the foundation for the injunction and that panel should vacate it on that basis alone.

The attorneys for the clinic responded in two ways, according to Satter. First that “Tvedten is challenging his suspension, which ‘has nothing to do with his competence as an abortion care provider.’”

Second, they have another board-certified OB-GYN who has “agreed in August to provide abortions at the Little Rock clinic and serve as its medical director. But because [William] Parker lives out of state and isn’t able to move to Arkansas, the clinic may face a future threat from the requirement if it continues to exist. For that reason, its attorneys argue, it retains a valid standing for challenging Act 700.”

We have written about Parker, an iterant abortionist, numerous times. Parker, who fancies himself a Christian [in his book, Parker announces “I believe that as an abortion provider, I am doing God’s work”], is prolific at his trade, aborting up to 45 babies a day. 

As for how late in pregnancy, there’s a kind of blinking yellow light at 24 weeks, 6 days, but there are always extenuating circumstances for the industrious Dr. Parker.

We will do a follow up story tomorrow, based on what is said at today’s hearing.

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Categories: Judicial