LITTLE ROCK – Federal courts have delivered mixed verdicts over Arkansas’ abortion restrictions, with one ruling blocking four laws limiting the procedure and another letting new requirements for administering the abortion pill take effect.
Together, they show that the that the fight over efforts by an increasingly Republican legislature to scale back abortion won’t end anytime soon, and also shows how much of a role Arkansas is going to play in the national debate being waged over abortion rights.
Abortion rights groups hailed U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker’s late-night ruling last month to halt new abortion restrictions, three of which were set to take effect last week.
The ruling came hours after a federal appeals court reversed a separate decision by Baker that halted a 2015 law regarding the abortion pill.
“By blocking these laws, the judge has prevented some of the most egregious burdens Arkansas politicians have tried to impose on women seeking abortion in the state,” Talcott Camp, deputy director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement after the ruling.
The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights had sued the state over the new restrictions, enacted by the Legislature earlier this year.
The laws blocked include a ban on a procedure known as dilation and evacuation.
Abortion rights supporters say it is the safest and most common procedure used in second-trimester abortions, but the state calls it a barbaric and “dismemberment abortion” and says it…
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