The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday to uphold a lower court’s decision allowing Planned Parenthood to continue providing abortions in the state of Arkansas.
Arkansas officials passed a law in 2015 — Act 577 or Abortion Inducing Drugs Safety Act — mandating that medication-induced abortion providers have a contract with a physician at the hospital nearest to the abortion clinic in the case of emergencies.
The law was meant to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, but it failed to do so after Planned Parenthood sued. The suit prompted a lower court to put a temporary restraining order on the law, saying that it placed an undue burden on women’s access to abortion, according to Arkansas Online. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued another injunction on March 14, 2016, and the law has been ineffective since.
The legislation is “a medically unnecessary and draconian abortion restriction that would have eliminated all but one abortion provider in the state of Arkansas,” said a Planned Parenthood representative. Sponsors of the bill as well Arkansas’ state attorney general contend that the law is meant to protect the health and safety of women getting abortions in the event of an emergency post-abortion.
“It is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood continues to fight reasonable, common-sense health and safety regulations to ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe manner,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s spokesperson on Friday. “Attorney General Rutledge will continue to defend this law and urge the Supreme Court of the United States to reject certiorari.”
The case will now head to the state Supreme Court for review. “As we march forward to seek review in the U.S. Supreme Court, we stand by the countless Arkansans who will continue accessing expert, compassionate health care at our health centers in Fayetteville and Little Rock,” a Planned Parenthood representative said Friday in a statement.
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