Federal Court Upholds Four Arkansas Pro-Life Laws That Will Save Babies From Abortions

State   Micaiah Bilger   Dec 16, 2020   |   11:07AM    Little Rock, AR

Arkansas may begin enforcing four life-saving pro-life laws before Christmas after the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in its favor Tuesday.

The AP reports the Eighth Circuit court overturned a federal judge’s order blocking the pro-life laws earlier this year, and on Tuesday, it refused to reconsider its ruling.

The judges cited a recent opinion by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the reason for their decision.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who is pro-life, celebrated the ruling Tuesday.

“The attorney general applauds [Tuesday’s] decision denying en banc review,” said spokesperson Stephanie Sharp in a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “This is another win validating the pro-life laws in Arkansas.”

One of the 2017 laws being challenged is the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which protects unborn babies from being brutally dismembered alive in the womb. These abortions typically are referred to as dilation and evacuation, or D&E, and are common in the second trimester when unborn babies are nearly fully developed.

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A second law, the Sex Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, protects unborn babies from discriminatory sex-selection abortions. The other two laws require the remains of aborted babies to be buried or cremated and require abortion staff to report evidence of suspected sexual abuse of young girls to authorities.

Arkansas never has been allowed to enforce the laws. The American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of Little Rock abortionist Frederick Hopkins, and a lower court judge quickly blocked the state from enforcing them until the arguments could be heard.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the state may begin enforcing the laws as soon as next week; however, the ACLU promised to appeal the ruling.

“We will take further action,” ACLU of Arkansas executive director Holly Dickson told the newspaper. “We’ve got two ways we can go — petition the U.S. Supreme Court or go back to district court. This gives us seven days to take our next steps to try and enjoin these laws from taking effect.”

If allowed to go into effect, the laws could save hundreds of babies’ lives each year. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 683 of the 3,771 abortions performed in 2015 were D&E, or dismemberment abortions.

In August, Rutledge promised that her office would continue to defend the protections for unborn babies.

“Arkansas has taken a strong stance to protect the unborn from inhumane treatment,” she said in a statement. “As Arkansas’s chief legal officer, I have always advocated for the lives of unborn children and will continue to defend our state’s legal right to protect the unborn.”

The dismemberment abortion ban embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would prohibit “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures.

Thirteen states have laws that ban dismemberment abortions. However, the abortion industry is challenging many of them in court.