Dec 28, 2015
Dec 28, 2015
Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and an independent abortion provider challenging two provisions of Act 577. The first provision requires that physicians have a signed contract with a doctor who maintains admitting privileges at a local hospital. The second provision mandates that administration of the drugs follow an outdated FDA protocol.
Plaintiffs challenged the two provisions, contending that they violate patients’ due process right to liberty, privacy, and bodily integrity as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and is an undue burden on a pregnant person’s constitutional right to an abortion.
Plaintiffs also allege that the law violates their right to equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment because the law imposes obligations on abortion providers that are not imposed on other medical providers.
On December 31, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Kristine G. Baker issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law.
On July 28, 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction and sent the case back to the lower court with instructions to determine how many women stand to be harmed by the law before the case could proceed any further. The court said that information was necessary for the court’s undue burden analysis.
On May 29, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Planned Parenthood’s petition for writ of certiorari, thus leaving the Eight Circuit ruling in place pending trial on the merits.
On July 2, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Kristine G. Baker blocked the law again ruling it “substantially burdens a large faction of women in Arkansas seeking medication abortions.”
On November 5, 2018, Planned Parenthood moved to dismiss the appeal since they found a physician willing to contract with them and were now able to comply with the restriction. Attorneys for Planned Parenthood and the state of Arkansas asked an appeals court to lift the ruling blocking the law.
**last updated Nov. 6, 2018