By Dave Andrusko
The latest illustration came on New Year’s Eve when she granted a restraining order on sections of Arkansas’ Act 577, also known as the “Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act.” Judge Baker’s order means a 14-day delay in enforcing two sections of the law which were set to take effect the following day.
Under Act 577, which passed in March, individual abortionists or organizations that dispense chemical abortifacients are required to have an abortionist with admitting privileges at a local hospital (in case of emergencies).
Another portion of the law requires abortionists to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when administering the two-drug RU-486 chemical abortion technique (mifepristone and misoprostol).
The lawsuit was brought by the mammoth Planned Parenthood of the Heartland affiliate.
In her ruling, Judge Baker wrote that Planned Parenthood has “a substantial likelihood of success on their argument that this portion . . . would result in an undue burden and would have the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” She added, “At this early stage of the proceeding, the court finds that, in the case of medication abortion, any benefit of admitting privileges in terms of continuity of care is incrementally small.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere said the short stay was granted to allow both sides time to fully present arguments.
“Act 577 of 2015 was passed by the General Assembly and seeks to ensure medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections in the case of adverse effects,” Judd said. “Attorney General Rutledge will fully defend this statute and believes it will ultimately be upheld.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who signed the measure into law, called it a “common sense approach for safety.”
“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,” Gov. Hutchinson said in a written statement.