Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas 12-Week Abortion Ban

Arkansas’ abortion ban—one of the most extreme bans in the country— cannot take effect while lawsuit continues

A federal judge ruled today that Arkansas’ extreme ban on abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy cannot take effect while the legal challenge brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arkansas is ongoing.
 
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
 
“Today’s decision ensures that the women of Arkansas will remain protected from this blatant unconstitutional assault on their health and fundamental reproductive rights.
 
“Such an extreme ban on abortion would have immediate and devastating consequences for women in Arkansas, especially those who could not afford to travel out of state to access reproductive health care.
 
“We are confident that the court will continue to uphold women's constitutional right to make their own decisions about their pregnancies and ultimately strike down this harmful law permanently.”
 
The Center and the ACLU filed the lawsuit, Edwards v. Beck, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on behalf of two physicians who provide abortion services at a Little Rock clinic, arguing that the Arkansas law violates the U.S. Constitution by banning pre-viability abortions.
 
The physicians are represented by Stephanie Toti, senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Talcott Camp at the ACLU, and Bettina Brownstein and Holly Dickson with the ACLU of Arkansas. 
 
The Arkansas law banning abortion at 12 weeks is one of the most extreme in the nation, only surpassed by the recently-enacted North Dakota measure banning the procedure as early as six-weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant. The Center for Reproductive Rights has committed to also challenging the North Dakota law before it is scheduled to take effect in August 2013.