Abortion

Does an Arkansas law allow husbands to sue doctors to prevent their wives from undergoing a newly banned abortion procedure?

Abortion opponents say no. A group preparing to challenge the ban says such a lawsuit is theoretically possible but not likely.

The little-noticed clause is included in several state laws banning dilation and evacuation, but the Arkansas provision has prompted a backlash on social media.

Abortion dilation and evacuation
Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

The Arkansas House has voted to make the state the third to ban a commonly used abortion procedure.

The majority-Republican House voted 78-10 Monday to ban a procedure known dilation and evacuation, or "D&E," a second trimester procedure that abortion supporters say is the safest and most common. The measure now heads to the majority GOP state Senate, and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he would sign the ban if it reaches his desk.

Mississippi and West Virginia have similar bans in effect. Similar prohibitions are on hold amid court challenges in other states.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Abortion opponents in Arkansas are pushing for a ban on a commonly used second trimester procedure along with other restrictions.

They're buoyed by Republicans' expanded majorities in the Legislature and Donald Trump's election as president.

A Republican lawmaker said he planned to file legislation next week to prohibit a medical procedure called dilation and evacuation, or "D&E."

Abortion rights groups say the procedure is the safest and most common used in second trimesters.

A federal appeals panel is considering whether to uphold or strike down a judge's decision to temporarily block Arkansas from cutting off Medicaid payments for three Planned Parenthood patients.

Attorneys for the state and Planned Parenthood appeared Wednesday before a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over the preliminary injunction preventing the defunding move for the patients. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued the injunction last year and Planned Parenthood has asked her to expand the order to any current or future patients.

The state is asking a federal judge to not expand her order blocking Arkansas' attempt to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood.

Last month, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland asked U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to issue a new preliminary injunction to cover any current or future Medicaid patients at its health centers in the state.

Under orders from state lawmakers, the Arkansas Medical Board has voted to replace the term "fetus" with "unborn child" or "unborn human individual" in proposed regulations on abortion-related laws.

The board had presented the wording governing abortion procedures in January, changing the Legislature's language to "fetus" because its members said that was an accepted medical term, while "unborn child" was not.

Planned Parenthood is asking a federal judge to prevent Arkansas from blocking Medicaid funds for women who seek services at its health centers in the state.

A federal judge is continuing to block Arkansas from enforcing its limits on how the abortion pill is administered.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's request for a preliminary injunction against the restrictions, which were supposed to take effect Jan. 1. Baker had previously issued a temporary restraining order that was set to expire Monday.

A federal judge has ordered Arkansas to pay more than $25,000 in attorney's fees and costs for its unsuccessful bid to have the U.S. Supreme Court revive a 12-week abortion ban.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright on Friday ordered the state to pay $24,780 in attorney's fees and $748 in costs for its unsuccessful petition before the nation's highest court on the law. Wright struck down the law as unconstitutional in 2014 and a federal appeals court panel upheld Wright's decision last year.

  The Arkansas attorney general's office wants to appeal a federal judge's decision to expand a lawsuit challenging the state's decision to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood.

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