Appeals Court panel uphold Arkansas chemical abortion law, judge preliminarily enjoins four other pro-life laws

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker

A very busy Friday with decidedly mixed results for pro-life forces in Arkansas.

On the plus side, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a preliminary injunction issued in 2015 by activist Federal Judge Kristin Baker that prevented Arkansas from enforcing its law requiring abortion clinics proving chemical abortifacients “to maintain a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications,” according to the Associated Press.

The appeals court, based in St. Louis, said it was vacating the preliminary injunction and remanding the case for further proceeding because Judge Baker had failed to “make factual findings estimating the number of women burdened by the statute.”

Attorney General Rutledge issued a statement, stating, “In a unanimous opinion, the 8th Circuit recognized that the lower court incorrectly analyzed the law.”

“The injunction was vacated because Planned Parenthood failed to show that the state law is a substantial obstacle, preventing most women from having access to abortion services. This common sense law will help ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections for women. While the Court did not reach a final decision on the ultimate merits, today’s decision is an important notice to the lower court that this law has important benefits for patients. I will continue to defend Act 577 as Planned Parenthood continues its challenge.”

A few hours after the appeals court issued its ruling, Judge Baker took aim at four other pro-life Arkansas laws. The most prominent is Arkansas’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act which bans the grotesque practice of dismemberment abortions.

Seven states– Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas–currently forbid an abortion “technique” that uses sharp metal clamps and scissors to crush, tear and pulverize living unborn human beings, to rip heads and legs off of tiny torsos until the defenseless child bleeds to death.

In her 140-page decision Judge Baker defended issuing a preliminary injunction on the grounds that “The threatened harm to Dr. [Frederick] Hopkins and the fraction of women for whom the mandate is relevant clearly outweighs whatever damage or harm a proposed injunction may cause the State of Arkansas.”

Rose Mimms, executive director for Arkansas Right to Life, told NRL News Today

As usual the challenges by the ACLU focus on misinformation and downright lies as to what these new laws actually do– and that is to tell the truth that living unborn children are brutally torn apart until they bleed to death, that unborn baby girls are aborted simply because they are baby girls, and that the bodies of unborn children killed by abortion would be respected and treated as any other human being is at death.

Added Ingrid Duran, director of state legislation for National Right to Life

Judge Baker never considered the societal degradation that accompanies “normalizing” this horrific abortion procedure. NRLC believes that this is a temporary setback and we appreciate the hardworking effort from the Attorney General’s office to appeal and defend this constitutional law.

Judge Baker’s decision was warmly received by pro-abortion organizations.

“Arkansas women can feel a little relief today, knowing that these laws are blocked from taking effect,” Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement. “Instead of protecting women’s health, Arkansas politicians have passed laws that defy decency and reason just to make it difficult or impossible for a woman to get an abortion.”

Speaking on behalf of Arkansas AG Rutledge, spokesman Judd Deere told the AP via text message that Rutledge disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal.

Judge Baker also preliminary enjoined three other laws, scheduled to take effect this week. One imposes new restrictions on the disposal of the remains of aborted babies.

Another “would expand a requirement that physicians performing abortions for patients under 14 take certain steps to preserve embryonic or fetal tissue and notify police where the minor resides,” according to the AP’s Andrew DeMillo.

A third law banned abortions performed solely on the basis of the child’s sex.