Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Pro-Life Law a Week Before it Goes into Effect

Libby | July 21, 2021
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A federal judge temporarily blocked a new Arkansas law on Tuesday that restricted almost all abortions.

U.S. District Court Judge Kristine G. Baker’s block will place a hold on the law from going into effect temporarily until a lawsuit against the law proceeds, according to CNN.

Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the legislation, titled the Unborn Child Protection Act, into law in March.

This pro-life law restricted providers from performing any and all abortions except for the case of medical emergency to save the life of the mother.

It also provides that violators could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison or up to $100,000 in fines.

Pro-choice advocates including Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Arkansas American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the law, as it faces off directly with the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

CNN also reported that ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project staff attorney Meagan Burrows said the following concerning the decision:

Arkansas pursued a clearly unconstitutional law that would disproportionately harm people of color, people who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes — all of whom already face significant barriers to accessing health care and higher risks of pregnancy-related death. The court's ruling today should serve as a stark reminder to anti-abortion politicians in Arkansas and other states that they cannot strip people of their right to make the deeply personal decision about whether to have an abortion or continue a pregnancy. We'll continue to fight to make sure abortion stays legal in Arkansas and that the state's unconstitutional ban is struck down for good.

Baker’s temporary blocking of the state’s pro-life law comes days before it was set to go into effect on July 28.

The office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge expressed their disappointment in Baker’s decision and suggested they will look for other options to continue upholding pro-life principles.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Sharp noted that Rutledge will review the judge’s decision “to consider the appropriate next step to protect the life of the unborn.”