Federal judge blocks Arkansas law banning almost all abortions

A federal judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking a recently passed Arkansas law that would have barred nearly all abortions in the state.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker wrote the ban was “categorically unconstitutional” as it bans abortions before a fetus would be considered viable.

She concluded that the plaintiffs in this case had standing to challenge the law in terms of how it affected "pre-viability abortions," and that they are "likely to succeed on the merits" of their argument.

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The Arkansas abortion law would only allow abortions to be performed to save the life of the mother and would not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

"Defendants make no argument as to whether or not plaintiffs or plaintiffs’ patients will experience irreparable harm," Baker wrote. “Since the record at this stage of the proceedings indicates that women seeking abortions in Arkansas face an imminent threat to their constitutional rights, the Court concludes that they will suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief."

The lawsuit for which Baker issued the injunction was filed by Little Rock Family Planning Services on behalf of itself and its patients in May. Baker noted that the majority of the plaintiffs in this case are "poor or low-income." She also pointed out in her injunction that Arkansas's maternal mortality rate is 50 percent higher than the national rate overall.

Baker's decision was praised by the ACLU, The Associated Press reported.

“We’re relieved that the court has blocked another cruel and harmful attempt to criminalize abortion care and intrude on Arkansans’ deeply personal medical decisions,” Holly Dickson, executive director for the ACLU of Arkansas said in statement to the AP.