The ACLU has asked the full 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision of a three-judge panel to lift an injunction against four anti-abortion laws in Arkansas aimed at putting the one remaining medical abortion provider in Arkansas out of business.
The laws remain enjoined for now. They outlaw the safest second-trimester abortion procedure; require notice to the police of minor abortions, and also require notice to various parties, including a rapist father, of certain abortion-related decisions.
The request for rehearing says the three judges “bootstrapped”a concurring opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts in a Lousiana abortion case to effectively overrule the existing precedent that should apply in this case. If precedent is to be overturned, it should be done by the full Supreme Court, the brief argues.
The case is being watched nationally because the Roberts opinion, though allowing the invalidating of one anti-abortion law, is seen as a backdoor route to the reversal of many rulings striking down abortion restrictions and perhaps even overturning of Roe v. Wade by the court’s conservative majority.
The appeal also says the opinion removes the ability of district judges to do fact-finding on the amount of burden placed on women by such laws, leaving full discretion to the legislature.