LOOKING AHEAD: Given his record as an abortion foe, will new federal Judge Lee Rudofsky do as his predecessor did and not hear abortion cases?

Highly recommended for its shock value: An account in the Washington Post by a Missouri ob/gyn of the state of Missouri’s persistent and invasive efforts to shut down that state’s last abortion provider.

The horrors include: Building a spreadsheet on women’s periods; invasive pelvic exams; repeated harassing inspections not made on medical facilities that provide far more dangerous procedures. It is a measure of how far a Republican government is willing to go to de facto strip Missouri women of home state access to a constitutionally protected medical procedure, even to the point of new trauma on victims of sexual assault.

It hasn’t gotten to this point in Arkansas ….. quite. But the anti-choice lobby has imposed many of the same high hurdles to abortion access that exist in Missouri. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the legislature are doing their best to end availability of this constitutional procedure with the added “bonus” of reduction in family planning services that can prevent the need for an abortion.

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Donald Trump has just put on the federal bench in Little Roc a judge, Lee Rudofsky, who led Rutledge’s legal effort to strip women of medical autonomy. A key question now is whether he’ll follow in the principled footsteps of the retired judge he replaces, Leon Holmes. Because of his record as an abortion foe, Holmes declined to take federal court abortion cases.  We have to wonder as well whether Rudofsky will take civil rights cases brought by LGBT people, given his past opposition to equal rights for sexual minorities.