Arkansas abortion restrictions could go into effect later this month following court ruling

The judge cited Supreme Court precedent in making the decision.

Updated: August 12, 2020 - 3:03pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Several new abortion restrictions may go into effect in Arkansas at the end of this month following an appeals court striking down an earlier injunction against the legislation. 

The new laws include a ban on dilation and extraction abortions as well as a prohibition on those performed solely because of a baby's sex. Judge Kristine Baker of the state's Eastern District Circuit Court had blocked those regulations in 2017.

Yet the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals declared in a ruling late last week that a Supreme Court decision earlier in the summer meant that the district court's earlier ruling should be reconsidered. In that ruling — June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo — Chief Justice John Roberts dismissed an earlier court standard of abortion regulations upon which the district court had relied in 2017.

Consequently, the court "vacate[d] the district court's preliminary injunction and remand[ed] for reconsideration" in light of Roberts's decision earlier this year.

Responding to the ruling, ACLU of Arkansas Legal Director Holly Dickson said that the organization is "evaluating our next steps and will continue to fight to ensure these harmful and unconstitutional laws do not take effect." The state ACLU is a party in the legal fight over the regulations.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, meanwhile, said after the ruling that the state "has taken a strong stance to protect the unborn from inhumane treatment." 

"As Arkansas's chief legal officer," she said, "I have always advocated for the lives of unborn children and will continue to defend our state's legal right to protect the unborn."

Just the News Spotlight