Arkansas Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Abortion Ban Challenge

On Tuesday, the state of Arkansas asked a federal judge to dismiss a court case that challenges the state’s abortion ban after 12 weeks.

Attorneys for the state of Arkansas filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of two abortion providers in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the motion, Arkansas argues that the measure “regulates certain pre-viability abortions without placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking a pre-viability abortion.” The attorneys go on to state that the law furthers “the state’s legitimate interests in protecting the life and health of the pregnant woman, protecting the life of the fetus that may become a child and protecting the ethics and integrity of the medical profession.”

The lawsuit, Edwards v. Beck, was filed on April 16 and argues that doctors who violate the 12 week ban will lose their medical license and as a result are forced to turn away women in need of abortion care. The lawsuit also goes on to argue that the measure denies “patients their constitutionally-guaranteed right to decide to end a pre-viability pregnancy.”

In March, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override Governor Beebe’s veto of the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which bans abortion after a heartbeat can be detected with a standard ultrasound (usually 12 weeks). While the bill does include exemptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality, and to save the life of the mother, the bill is still one of the strictest abortion bans in the United States.


Associated Press 5/7/2013; Businessweek 5/7/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/7/2013

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