Arkansas AG appeals decision thwarting state’s law regulating chemical abortions

By Dave Andrusko

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

To Arkansas State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s great credit, each and every time Planned Parenthood of the Great Plains wins an injunction from U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, Rutledge immediately files an appeal.

On Monday, roughly a half hour after Judge Baker’s previous restraining order against Arkansas’ “Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act” expired, Baker issued a preliminary injunction. This action came exactly 32 days after the United States Supreme Court, without comment, allowed Arkansas to enforce Act 577.

On Thursday, the attorney general’s office filed notice that the state is appealing.

Arkansas’ law, which is, as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Linda Satter explained, “a section of Act 577 of 2015,” requires abortion clinics providing chemical abortifacients to have a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a local hospital who agrees to handle any complications. The injunction was similar to the one Judge Baker issued in March 2016 which a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved last summer, a decision which on May 29th the Supreme Court allowed to stand.

Planned Parenthood essentially argues two points. Abortion is so unpopular in Arkansas they can’t find a backup physician. And because Planned Parenthood only does chemical abortions, if they can’t find a willing physician, they’d have to stop doing abortions in Arkansas. (Little Rock Family Planning Services performs surgical and chemical abortions in Arkansas.)

In Judge Baker’s most recent 148-page decision blocking enforcement of Act 577, she concluded the law would “negatively impact a ‘large fraction’ of abortion-seeking women in Arkansas in such a way that it violates their constitutional rights,” Satter wrote.