A law that bans almost all abortions in Arkansas won't be going into an effect after a federal judge blocked it as she hears a challenge to the legislation's constitutionality.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker has issued a preliminary injunction that prevents an Arkansas law banning almost all abortions from taking effect. The measure was signed into law by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and was set to take effect on Friday, July 28, but was blocked by the federal judge this week as she considers a challenge to the law's constitutionality.
The law, which proponents hope would push the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade, did not place exceptions for cases of rape and incest and was passed by the state's legislature of mostly Republican leaders.
According to the Associated Press, federal Judge Baker said the law banning almost all abortions in Arkansas was "categorically unconstitutional" because it would prohibit abortions before a fetus is considered viable.
She wrote, "Since the record at this stage of the proceedings indicates that women seeking abortions in Arkansas face an imminent threat to their constitutional rights, the court concludes that they will suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief."
This is yet another roadblock for pro-life advocates, including Gov. Hutchinson, who said when he signed it into law that the ban is "in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law," CBS News reported. Back in 2019, Gov. Hutchinson signed what is called a "trigger law" which will ban abortions in the event that Roe v. Wade would be overturned.
According to The Blaze, federal Judge Baker said that plaintiffs American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood were "likely to succeed on the merits" of their argument that the Arkansas prohibits abortions before the baby could survive outside the mother's womb and is therefore unconsitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
She said that they had instead argued that abortion laws were "wrongly decided" and that "there is no constitutional right to abortion." She reiterated that the Court was bound by the Supreme Court's decision on these abortion laws.
This was considered a victory by ACLU and Planned Parenthood, which both decried the Arkansas law banning almost all abortions in the state. ACLU Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson called it "another cruel and harmful attempt to criminalize abortion care," while Planned Parenthood Great Plains CEO and president Brandon Hill highlighted the "harmful and immediate effects" of the law on women in Arkansas.
Arkasas through its Republican leaders and Gov. Hutchinson have produced up to 20 pro-life laws this year, the most in any state in the America since 1978. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there has been a 30% decline in the abortion rate in Arkansas from 2014 to 2017, down to 5.5 abortions per 1,000 women verses the previous statistic of 8 abortions per 1,000 women.