Arkansas will appeal judge’s decision enjoining four protective abortion laws

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker

Here’s a quick update of two developments in Arkansas, one which occurred while I was on vacation and one that took place today.

First, on August 16, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a preliminary injunction issued by activist federal Judge Kristine Baker “preventing the state from suspending any Medicaid payments for services rendered to patients from Planned Parenthood,” Arkansas Online reported.

Judge Baker “initially ordered the state to continue the payments to three patients who had sued over the move and later expanded that order to anyone who seeks or wants to obtain services from the organization’s health centers in Arkansas.”

But in a 2-1 decision the federal appeals court panel ruled the unnamed women did not have a right to challenge the decision defunding Planned Parenthood.

“The Court found that Planned Parenthood and the three patients it recruited could not contest in federal court Arkansas’s determination that a medical provider has engaged in misconduct that merits disqualification from the Medicaid program,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “All patients should have access to ethical, quality and responsible health care, and should never be beholden to a company that is only seeking to protect its profits.”

In 2015 Gov. Hutchinson directed the state Department of Human Services to stop disbursing Medicaid funds to pay for the organization’s services. (Planned Parenthood of the Heartland operates clinics in Little Rock and one in Fayetteville.)

Referring to the then-six undercover videos brought to the public’s attention by the Center for Medical Progress, Gov. Hutchinson said

“It is apparent that after recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them.”

Earlier today AG Rutledge appealed another decision by Judge Baker. As reported previously by NRL News Today, Judge Baker blocked Arkansas from enforcing four new protective laws, including a ban on the hideous practice of dismemberment abortions. All were enacted earlier this year and three were to go into effect August 1.

Today Rutledge filed a notice that she was appealing Judge Baker’s preliminary injunction, the Associated Press reported.

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 [abortionist] 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.”

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

As usual the challenges by the ACLU focus on misinformation 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.

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

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.