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Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Abortion Law For 2 Weeks

Kristine Baker

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Arkansas from enforcing new limits on how the abortion pill is administered.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker late Thursday issued a 14-day delay in two sections of the law, which was scheduled to go into effect Friday. Baker said that "for now" she found enforcing those sections would cause a threat of irreparable harm to Planned Parenthood's two Arkansas clinics and their patients.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit Monday challenging one portion of the law requiring doctors administering abortion pills to contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital and agrees to handle any complications and another portion requiring providers to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson responded to the ruling with this statement:

This was a ruling on a preliminary motion, and we are hopeful that when the case is considered in full that the Judge will support the law. The legislature passed HB 1394, sponsored by Rep. Charlene Fite, earlier this year, which established the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act. On March 20, I signed it into law because I agreed with the legislature’s intent to protect women by requiring physicians to follow procedures approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for these abortion drugs and to have the abortion clinic’s doctor associate with a physician who has hospital privileges. This is a common sense approach for safety and I am hopeful the Court agrees that this is a proper purpose for the legislature to act. As made evident by their lawsuit, Planned Parenthood places a premium on the convenience of abortion providers over the health and welfare of women seeking these procedures.

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