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Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Abortion Law, Again

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Grace Carr Reporter
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A federal judge barred Arkansas from enforcing its law restricting medication abortions on Monday, marking the latest action in an ongoing case about abortion provision.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker put a 14-day temporary injunction on Arkansas’ law requiring doctors who provide medication abortions to have a contract with another physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

“Attorney General (Leslie) Rutledge is disappointed in Judge Baker’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order against an Arkansas law that protects the health of pregnant women,” Jessica Ray, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Judge Baker’s ruling allows Planned Parenthood and Little Rock Family Planning Clinic to administer medication abortions without the necessary safety net available for women who experience emergencies and complications.”

Monday’s injunction follows Planned Parenthood’s first request to block Arkansas’ law on June 8, according to ABC News. That request came less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Planned Parenthood’s suit against Arkansas’ Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act that would have allowed the organization to continue offering medication abortions.

Previously a Little Rock federal judge prevented the 2015 law from being enforced. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, overturned that judge’s previous decision, after which Planned Parenthood challenged the ruling. The abortion organization alleges the law presents an undue burden on women’s access to abortion when requiring abortion doctors to have a contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a local hospital. (RELATED: Arkansas Effectively Banned Pill-Induced Abortions, And The Supremes Won’t Stop It)

Baker’s temporary restraining order will become a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the law. Arkansas will now decide whether it wants to appeal that decision to the 8th Circuit, or except the injunction and go to trial on the merits of its argument.

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