Judge hears challenge to three pro-life Arkansas laws

By Dave Andrusko

Judge Kristine Baker

With three pro-life laws scheduled to go into effect tomorrow, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker heard the state of Arkansas defend its legislation against a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU in a hearing that lasted all day Monday.

PPFA and the ACLU represents Little Rock Family Planning and Planned Parenthood. They seek a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction that would prevent the laws, all passed this year, from being enforced.

As NRL News Today reported, the three laws are

  • Act 619 which protects unborn babies who would be aborted solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
  • Act 700 which requires abortion providers to be board-certified.
  • Act 493 which bans abortions starting at 18 weeks.

According to Linda Satter of Arkansas Online, Judge Baker

is familiar with some of the issues, having presided over three other lawsuits challenging new abortion restrictions in the past four years.

The law that most of Monday’s testimony focused on was Act 700, which requires doctors performing abortions to be board-certified or board-eligible for certification as an OB-GYN.

As you would expect, abortionists testified both that not all OB-GYNs are trained in performing abortions, and that, in any event, an abortionist need not be a certified Ob-GYN.

Dr. Linda Prine, a New York abortionist, testified that under Act 700, “someone like me would not be able to provide abortions in Arkansas.” She added, “Women would die because of this law. It’s really unsafe.”

But, according to Satter, “Under cross-examination, she acknowledged that she has a 20% ownership interest in the clinic. Dr. Thomas Tvedten, a 72-year-old physician who performs abortions, owns the other 80%. Tvedten performs abortions three days a week at the clinic.”

Witnesses testifying for the state included Dr. Donna Harrison, who leads the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians. Satter reported that Dr. Harrison said

that women who receive abortions are more likely to suffer pre-term births when they become pregnant again, citing literature that attorneys for the plaintiffs attacked as unreliable and extremist.

“It’s very clear abortion is an independent risk factor for pre-term birth,” Harrison insisted, saying she based her opinion on about 150 studies that show “a definite link” between the two.

She also testified that women who abort children who are expected to be born with Down syndrome suffer from increased psychological problems later in life — an opinion adamantly criticized by experts for the plaintiffs.

Judge Baker then heard from Judy McGruder, an Arkansas woman “who said that in 1999, when she was 20 weeks pregnant with her third child, a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome and a doctor’s advice to stop having children prompted her to have an abortion. lead happy lives.” Satter reported that McGruder

said that after the procedure, she experienced excessive bleeding and called the abortion clinic, only to be told by a nurse “not to worry” because some of the blood was “my baby’s blood.”

She said she realized then “just how far along I had to be,” and her life began a downward spiral that led to drinking and a divorce. She said she is still struggling to deal with her decision, and she testified that an abortion “shouldn’t even be an option” in response to a Down syndrome diagnosis.

With the effective date for the laws coming tomorrow, it makes sense that, regardless of her final conclusion, Judge Baker will issue some kind of ruling very quickly.