The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments this morning from Arkansas to reinstate the law aimed at putting Planned Parenthood out of the abortion business in Arkansas by requiring presence of a doctor with hospital admitting privileges. Threats of reprisals by anti-abortion groups discouraged any doctors from accepting the role.
Planned Parenthood said this presented an undue burden on its clinics and would put them out of the business of providing drugs that induce early-stage abortions. Federal Judge Kristine Baker ruled in the organization’s favor, as she has in a separate suit over the state’s denial of Medicaid money for non-abortion health care at Planned Parenthood because Gov. Asa Hutchinson disapproves of Planned Parenthood’s abortion services.
According to a spectator, judges are asking some questions that sound favorable to Planned Parenthood — good arguments on unconstitutionality in general, said one judge. Another asked whether the law didn’t force Arkansas women to bypass pharmaceutical abortion for more surgical abortion. The full argument should be available on-line later today.
A member of her staff is carrying Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s fight to defend the law.