By Dave Andrusko
On Wednesday NRL News Today reported on the totally-expected decision by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to grant a 14-day temporary restraining order to block three pro-life Arkansas laws minutes before they would have taken effect on Wednesday. However, I missed some very passionate objections voiced by state legislators to her 159 page long decision. [Tip of the hat to LifeNews].
“Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) expressed his dismay with Judge Kristine Baker’s ruling to halt multiple abortion provisions from going into law July 24,” reported KATV News 7. “He referred to the decision as a ‘crime against humanity.’”
“I can’t imagine a judge, even a judge that has ruled against pro-life laws in the past would say that a down syndrome child’s life is not worth saving,” Rapert said.
Sen. Rapert was alluding to Act 619 , which protects unborn babies who would be aborted solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Judge Baker, an Obama appointee, also blocked Act 700 which requires abortion providers to be board-certified, and Act 493 which bans abortions starting at 18 weeks.
“A 9/11 tragedy occurs every single day in our nation — killed simply because of convenience, not even for medical necessity,” Rapert said, according to KATV News 7.
In a tweet, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said
The last minute attempt by the ACLU to block Arkansas’s laws is frustrating, but not unforeseen. The action was only the initial step and I anticipate further action in the near future in our defense of these laws that protect the life of mothers and their unborn children.
The ACLU challenged the laws on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Little Rock Family Planning Services.
Referring to the requirement that abortionists be board-certified, the Associated Press’s Andrew DeMillo noted that in her opinion, Judge Baker
wrote that the restriction “provides no discernible medical benefit” to women and questioned lawmakers’ intent in passing the law, known as Act 700.
“This, coupled with the record evidence that Arkansas has enacted more than 25 laws regulating abortion access in the state, including 12 enacted in 2019 alone, gives the court pause with respect to the purpose of Act 700,” she wrote.
In oral arguments which went on all-day Monday, the state of Arkansas argued that the board-certified requirement was similar to a Mississippi law that U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan upheld in March 2018.
The Associated Press’s Emily Wagster Pettus, in explaining the Judge Jordan’s decision, wrote
State attorneys said in defending the OB-GYN requirement that a physician must complete a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology to become board-certified or board-eligible.
Jordan wrote that because of this, he rejects opinions by plaintiffs’ experts who testified the OB-GYN requirement provided no benefit to women seeking abortions. He added, though, that the provision in the 2012 law was no stronger than what had existed in a previous law.