By Dave Andrusko
Given her track record of favoring the abortion industry, it came as no surprise that U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order blocking three pro-life Arkansas laws shortly before midnight Tuesday. Had Judge Baker done nothing, the three laws would have gone into effect at 12:01 am today.
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.
The ACLU of Arkansas and Planned Parenthood challenged the laws on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Little Rock Family Planning Services, the state’s only surgical abortion clinic.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said that the legal challenge to the three 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,” Rutledge said.
On the bright side, Arkansas’ law increasing the waiting period from 48 hours to 72 hours before a woman may abort took effect today. It had not been challenged.
Referring to Act 700, the Associated Press’s Andrew DeMillo noted that in her 159 page 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 Monday, the state of Arkansas had 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 Mississippi 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.
Judge Baker’s temporary restraining order came literally minutes before the laws would have taken effect, the second time in recent years she’s blocked a pro-life Arkansas law moments before it would have taken effect. In 2017, Baker had also prevented Arkansas’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act [Act 45] which bans the grotesque practice of dismembering living unborn babies, from taking effect.