A federal judge last week blocked four new pro-life laws from taking effect in Arkansas.
U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker of the Eastern District of Arkansas is considered an activist judge by the group National Right to Life. Leslie Rutledge, the state’s attorney general, has said she plans to appeal Baker’s ruling, reports the Associated Press.
Three of the new restrictions were set to go into effect Tuesday before being blocked late Friday night by Baker’s preliminary injunction. The laws were challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of a Little Rock abortion provider.
Among the new laws is the state’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. Seven states– Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas–currently forbid dismemberment abortion. The procedure involves using “sharp metal clamps and scissors to crush, tear and pulverize living unborn human beings, to rip heads and legs off of tiny torsos until the defenseless child bleeds to death,” according to news editor Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life in a report for National Right to Life News Today.
Another law imposes new restrictions on the disposal of the remains of aborted babies, and another expands an existing requirement that abortionists performing abortions on girls under 14 take steps to preserve embryonic or fetal tissue and notify police. The new law changes the requirement to apply to girls under 17.
Baker also partially blocked a law, which was to take effect in January, that bans abortions performed solely because of the unborn baby’s sex.
Rose Mimms, executive director for Arkansas Right to Life, told National Right to Life News Today:
As usual the challenges by the ACLU focus on misinformation and downright lies as to what these new laws actually do– and that is to tell the truth that living unborn children are brutally torn apart until they bleed to death, that unborn baby girls are aborted simply because they are baby girls, and that the bodies of unborn children killed by abortion would be respected and treated as any other human being is at death.
Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, praised Baker’s preliminary injunction, saying in a statement, “Instead of protecting women’s health, Arkansas politicians have passed laws that defy decency and reason just to make it difficult or impossible for a woman to get an abortion.”
National Right to Life News Today noted that Friday also included a victory for pro-lifers in that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a preliminary injunction issued by Baker in 2015. The injunction prevented Arkansas from enforcing its law requiring abortion clinics providing chemical abortifacients to have a contract with a doctor with hospital admitting privileges who would handle any complications. The appeals court said it would remand the case for further review because Baker had failed to “make factual findings estimating the number of women burdened by the statute.” Planned Parenthood was the plaintiff in the case.