Arkansas abortion facilities must abide by the same coronavirus restrictions as every other medical facility, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller came after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged a state restriction on elective surgical procedures on behalf of state abortion facilities.
Last week, the pro-abortion legal group asked that abortion facilities be granted a special exception from the restrictions, arguing that a coronavirus testing requirement for anyone seeking an elective surgery could prevent some women from getting abortions, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.
Miller denied the ACLU’s request, arguing that testing is a “reasonable” requirement during a global health crisis.
“[T]his directive applies equally to all surgical procedures and does not single out abortion providers or surgical abortions,” Miller wrote.
Arkansas is one of just two states that the courts have allowed to restrict elective abortions during the coronavirus outbreak. Texas is the other. In April, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Arkansas to temporarily ban surgical abortions as part of its efforts to conserve medical supplies and reduce the spread of the virus.
Now, as the health crisis begins to diminish, some states are starting to lift restrictions on medical procedures. As of April 27, Arkansas began allowing elective surgeries as long as certain criteria are met, including testing patients for the coronavirus 48 hours before the procedure.
However, the ACLU argued that even Arkansas’s new, less restrictive coronavirus requirements are too burdensome for those seeking to abort their unborn babies.
Miller disagreed, citing the Eighth Circuit decision allowing the earlier, more restrictive requirements to be enforced, according to the local news.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge celebrated the ruling in a statement.
“Today’s decision ensures there are no exemptions for surgical abortions during this pandemic,” she said. “Arkansas’s reasonable directive sets standards to protect the health and safety of patients, health care professionals, and the public during the covid-19 emergency.”
Follow LifeNews.com on Instagram for pro-life pictures and videos.
Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council, praised Rutledge for her work in defending the common-sense restriction.
“At a time when other doctors and facilities are abiding by state rules to help fight COVID-19, it’s very telling that abortionists still want special treatment,” Cox said. “Fortunately, Judge Miller has recognized that abortionists need to follow the same rules as everybody else during a pandemic like the current one. That’s a very good thing.”
Meanwhile, UPI reports the ACLU slammed the ruling as “beyond cruel.”
Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, claimed the restriction is “outright barring people who have decided to have an abortion from getting one and instead forcing them to stay pregnant and have a child against their will.”
Earlier this spring, a three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided to let the State of Arkansas restrict surgical abortions while a lawsuit against the state progresses. The ruling reversed a restraining order U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock had imposed on the state.
A Fifth Circuit ruling similarly allowed Texas to temporarily halt elective abortions along with other non-essential surgical procedures during the coronavirus crisis. However, other court rulings have forced Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama and other states to allow abortion facilities to continue killing unborn babies.
Recently, medical groups representing more than 30,000 doctors in America emphasized that abortions are not “essential” or “urgent,” and abortion facilities that continue to operate during the pandemic are being “medically irresponsible.” Common abortion complications include infections, blood clots, hemorrhaging and an incomplete abortion. Abortion risks include future preterm births, breast cancer, suicide, anxiety/depression, and death. And it is not true that abortions are safer than childbirth.