The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today asked attorneys in a lawsuit challenging four Arkansas anti-abortion laws for briefs on how a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week in an Indiana case might affect the pending state appeal of a judge’s order blocking the Arkansas anti-abortion laws.
The 8th Circuit asked for briefs by June 14 on impact of the decision by the Supreme Court that upheld an Indiana law requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated but denying review of a law barring abortions based on a fetus’ race sex or disability.
In 2017, the Arkansas legislature passed four laws aimed at limiting abortion. One outlawed a type of abortion procedure. The others changed the standards for the disposal of a dead fetus, required that doctors provide fetal tissue from the abortions of minor patients to law enforcement, and called on doctors to obtain a patient’s entire pregnancy history before performing an abortion. Judge Kristine Baker blocked all four laws.
In oral arguments in the case in December, most of the debate focused on the state’s attempt to make a crime of use of the dilation and evacuation procedure. Law challengers also focused on the potential danger of requiring fetal tissue from abortions of minors to be turned over to law enforcement. The state argued that the challengers hadn’t proven that the burden on women outweighed the state’s interest.
In the Indiana fetal remains case, the law didn’t impose restrictions on women who disposed of remains themselves and it also allowed mass cremations. The Arkansas law doesn’t mirror these elements.
Arkansas in 2019 passed a law banning abortions where Down syndrome potential had been identified in a fetus. That is not at issue in the pending appeal.