Two of the three abortion facilities in Arkansas could close if the U.S. Supreme Court allows a protective state law to go into effect.
Planned Parenthood and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge have been battling each other in court ever since the law passed in 2015. State Act 577 requires abortion facilities to follow Food and Drug Administration guidelines when administering abortion drugs. It also requires that abortion doctors who dispense the drugs maintain contact with another doctor who has hospital admitting privileges in case of patient emergencies.
Rutledge won a pro-life victory at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in September; however, the abortion chain appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The law has not gone into effect because of the legal challenges.
According to biased report in Newsweek, the law could shut down two of the remaining three abortion facilities in Arkansas if the Supreme Court upholds it.
Here’s more from the report:
Currently, there are only three abortion clinics in Arkansas, and two of them offer the medical abortion option as their sole method of terminating a pregnancy. Act 577 would make Arkansas the first state to effectively ban abortion by pill, lawyers for Planned Parenthood say, because it’s too hard for abortion providers in far-flung areas to get hospital credentials—and some hospitals have religious objections to abortion, The Washington Post reported.
Stephanie Ho, a doctor at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, claimed the law is not really about protecting women.
“There’s not a single instance in which Act 577 would help even one women gain better access to abortion in Arkansas,” Ho told Newsweek. “Having a physician requirement has nothing to do with the health and safety of the patient. This law is an ideologically motivated regulation intended to end access to abortion.”
She said her abortion chain is “confident” that the Supreme Court will strike down the law. Their hope is that the high court will view the law in the same way it did a Texas law in 2016 and overturn it.
However, attorneys for the state argued that abortion drugs can result in serious complications, including incomplete abortions and the death of the woman. They said Planned Parenthood sometimes refers patients who are experiencing complications to other abortion facilities or the emergency room, but it “cannot guarantee another provider will care for the patient.” They argued that the state law is necessary to protect patients in such cases.
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The abortion drug RU-486 has a high complication rate and can be deadly to the mother as well as her unborn baby if complications are not treated. According to the FDA, at least 14 women have died and 2,207 women have been injured by the drug in America.
Initially, Planned Parenthood also challenged a second part of the law that required abortion facilities to follow specific FDA guidelines when administering abortion drugs. However, the Obama Administration changed the FDA guidelines in 2016, allowing the abortion drugs to be used later in pregnancy and in smaller doses. The move basically nullified that part of the Arkansas law.