Arkansas Abortion

A group representing the only surgical abortion clinic in Arkansas says the state's move to resume elective surgeries could still effectively ban the procedure because of a lack of widespread coronavirus testing.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas on Friday did not say whether Little Rock Family Planning Services would be able to resume surgical abortions when the state eases its restrictions on elective procedures next week.

A federal appeals court says Arkansas can suspend abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.

A federal judge has blocked Arkansas' order preventing the state's only surgical abortion clinic from performing the procedure during the coronavirus pandemic.

The judge's decision on Tuesday came as health officials said the number of coronavirus cases in the state has risen to nearly 1,500 people.

The number of deaths in Arkansas increased by two to 32.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said the decision on when to lift Arkansas' restrictions remains with the state, despite President Donald Trump asserting he has “total” authority.

Little Rock Family Planning Services
Arkansas Times

COVID-19 safety precautions have become the backdrop for the latest abortion arguments in Arkansas. Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of Little Rock Family Planning Services, filed a lawsuit Monday contesting a cease and desist order issued by the state last week.

Jennifer Merritt
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal judge blocked three new abortion restrictions from taking effect Wednesday in  Arkansas , including a measure that opponents say would likely force the state's only surgical abortion clinic to close.

Jennifer Merritt
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An official with Arkansas's only surgical abortion clinic said Monday that the facility could close within a month if a federal judge doesn't block a new law restricting who can perform abortions in the state.

Planned Parenthood says it's stopped providing medication-induced abortions at its facility in northwest Arkansas while it seeks a new location, leaving the state with two abortion providers.

The chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Great Plains said in a court filing over the weekend that the organization stopped providing abortions at its health center in Fayetteville, located 140 miles (226 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, while it looks for a new site. Planned Parenthood says it's not renewing its lease in Fayetteville, which expires at the end of the month.

Little Rock federal courthouse
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal judge will hold a hearing on a challenge to three new abortion restrictions in Arkansas two days before the laws are set to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Friday scheduled a July 22 hearing on the new laws, including one that bans the procedure 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. The laws are set to take effect on July 24 and are being challenged by the state's abortion providers.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers have sent the governor a measure imposing a new requirement on doctors who perform abortions over the objections of medical groups that call the move unnecessary.

The House on Thursday voted 70-15 in favor of the proposal, which would require doctors who perform abortions to be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. The measure now heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

Medical groups have called the requirement unnecessary. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it opposes such restrictions.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

The Arkansas House has approved a proposal banning abortion 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, moving the state toward enacting what could be the strictest prohibition in the country.

The House on Monday approved the ban by a 77-13 vote. The measure now heads to the state Senate.

Dan Douglas
ArkansasHouse.org

Legislation has been sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson that would ban most abortions in Arkansas if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark Roe v. Wade decision. A spokesman for Hutchinson, J.R. Davis, said via text, "The Governor expects to sign the bill next week."

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

Three Arkansas abortion clinics are appealing a state board's ruling that they violated a law barring them from charging a patient seeking an abortion for related services during the waiting period before the procedure.

Planned Parenthood says it's now complying with an Arkansas law that was put on hold requiring doctors providing abortions pills to contract with a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

A federal appeals court says it won't allow Arkansas to enforce a law that critics say would make the state the first in the U.S. to effectively ban abortion pills.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied a request by the state to put on hold a judge's order preventing Arkansas from enforcing the law.

That law says doctors who provide the pills must hold a contract with a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

A federal judge is again blocking Arkansas from enforcing a law that critics say makes the state the first in the nation to effectively ban abortion pills.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted a 14-day temporary restraining order preventing Arkansas from enforcing the restriction on how abortion pills are administered. The law says doctors who provide the pills must hold a contract with a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

A court case in Arkansas is proving to be a bellwether of abortion-restrictive laws in the region, as a similar case in Missouri attempts to give fewer options to women choosing to terminate pregnancy.

Women in Arkansas only have access to surgical abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on whether a state law restricting access to medication abortion is unconstitutional.

Arkansans seeking a medical abortion with the aid of mifepristone or misoprostol will have to find them in another state.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week not to hear an appeal from Planned Parenthood paves the way for Act 577 of 2015, and conservatives in the state are applauding the court’s decision.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. Arkansas is a pro-life state, and we will continue to be so,” says state Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), president of the Arkansas Right to Life board.

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U.S. Supreme Court
Matt Wade / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing Arkansas to put in effect restrictions on how abortion pills are administered. Critics of a challenged state law say it could effectively end medication abortions in the state.

The justices on Tuesday rejected an appeal from the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Arkansas that asked the court to review an appeals court ruling and reinstate a lower court order that had blocked the law from taking effect.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

One year after the Women's March drew thousands to the streets nationwide, including in Arkansas, demonstrators again made the journey to the Arkansas State Capitol to let their voices be heard. Though this year's March On, Arkansas! March to the Polls and ensuing Rally for Reproductive Justice had numerous callbacks to the previous march, including many signature pink hats, there was a marked shift in tone. Legislators, candidates and community organizers urged the public to channel their dissatisfaction into votes for progressive politics. 

This weekend the Arkansas Capitol building will be the site of two rallies with two very different messages. Those in support of reproductive rights and a larger progressive presence in the 2018 elections plan to be at the Capitol Saturday. While those seeking to end abortion are set to rally Sunday – minus Roman Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor.

Planned Parenthood
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal appeals court says it won't reconsider a panel's decision to clear the way for the state to restrict how the abortion pill is administered.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied a request from Planned Parenthood to have the full court review a three-judge panel's ruling vacating a judge's preliminary injunction against the 2015 law.

The measure requires doctors providing the pill to maintain a contract with another physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital and who agrees to handle any complications.

A federal judge has blocked Arkansas from enforcing four new abortion restrictions, including a ban on a common second-trimester procedure and a fetal remains law that opponents say would effectively require a partner's consent before a woman could get an abortion.