8th circuit to hear challenge to three pro-life 2019 laws passed by Arkansas

By Dave Andrusko

Linda Satter, who writes for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, posted an intriguing story today about an upcoming hearing in which a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis will hear Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s request that the  panel vacate  U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker’s injunction and allow three laws passed in 2019 to be enforced.

If you’re confused, as I was initially, it’s entirely understandable. Last month we wrote about a separate three-judge panel which vacated another  decision by Judge Baker who had issued a preliminary injunction against four pro-life bills passed in 2017 by the Arkansas legislature. As you may recall, Judges Smith, Wollman, and Grasz said the laws should be reconsidered in light of the concurring opinion issued by Chief Justice John Roberts in the June 29th case of June Medical Services L.L. v. Russo.

The three 2019 laws, which the state and pro-abortionists will debate September 23 via videoconferencing, are not being enforced because of Judge Baker’s August 6 , 2019 injunction. 

The first is Act 493, which prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy.

The second is Act 619 which bans abortions  “with the knowledge” that a woman is seeking it “solely on the basis” of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The third–Act 700–which requires doctors who perform abortions in Arkansas to be board-certified or board-eligible OB-GYNs.

In a tweet, Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge said at the time of Judge Baker’s injunction 

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. Judge Baker’s injunction came just hours before the laws would have taken effect.