One of Arkansas’s two abortion facilities may close this summer because it cannot comply with a new state safety regulation.
On Monday, lawyers for Little Rock Family Planning Services, the only abortion facility in Arkansas that does surgical abortions through the second trimester, asked a judge to block the law so that it will not have to close, the AP reports.
The law requires that abortionists be board-certified OB-GYNs. It is scheduled to go into effect Wednesday.
Abortion clinic director Lori Williams said their only board-certified abortion doctor lives in California and works only a few days a month. She told U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker on Monday that they would have to close because they would not have enough doctors to do abortions and fewer abortions would hurt them financially, the Arkansas Times reports.
Williams estimated that abortions are about 95 percent of what her facility does, the report continues.
Planned Parenthood also is involved in the legal challenge. The two abortion businesses also asked Baker to block laws that ban abortions after 18 weeks and prohibit discriminatory abortions because the unborn baby has Down syndrome. They claim that the laws are unconstitutional and “medically unnecessary.”
State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge defended the laws and the rights of unborn babies.
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“Today’s hearing is the initial step in our defense of Arkansas Laws that protect the sanctity of life for mothers and their unborn children,” she said in a statement to KATV.
Baker, an appointee of pro-abortion President Barack Obama, is expected to release a ruling Tuesday or Wednesday.
In March, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the pro-life laws. Arkansas House Bill 1439, the Cherish Act, bans abortions after 18 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies that threaten the mother’s life. Arkansas currently prohibits abortions after 20 weeks.
“It’s within the second trimester that states are allowed to pass restrictions on, and this, with the science we have today it seems like a very appropriate restriction,” Hutchinson said earlier this year, the AP reports.
At the time, many state residents told KFSM News 5 that they support the new law and would support even wider abortion restrictions.
Many states have abortion bans that protect unborn children after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the most they are able to do considering the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to allow states to ban abortions entirely. Some states are pushing the envelope by trying to ban abortions before that period.
It is unclear if the legislation will be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The current precedent prohibits states from passing abortion restrictions prior to viability.
The U.S. Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
Earlier this month, LifeNews reported how another abortion facility in Arkansas, a Planned Parenthood in Fayetteville, closed because of pro-life advocates’ strong presence outside.