Arkansas sued over 18-week abortion ban

Arkansas sued over 18-week abortion ban
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Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Arkansas over its 18-week abortion ban.

Their lawsuit said the ban on abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, if it goes into effect, will “seriously and irreparably harm” patients “by outright denying them access to pre-viability abortion in Arkansas and violating their constitutional rights.”

They asked the judge to declare that the ban violates the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.

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The suit, filed on behalf of abortion providers in the state, also challenges laws that only allow certified obstetrician-gynecologists to perform abortions and that outlaw abortion targeting fetuses believed to have down syndrome. 

“These dangerously extreme bans and restrictions are part of a nationwide effort to criminalize abortion, while punishing providers and shaming families seeking care,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas's legal director, in a statement.

“We’re challenging three plainly unconstitutional laws that would completely outlaw abortions for many Arkansans and target health providers with restrictions that would push care even further out of reach,” she added.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) told The Hill in a statement Thursday that she is reviewing the lawsuit and will determine appropriate next steps. 

"As Attorney General, it is my duty and honor to defend the sanctity of life and protect mothers and their unborn children," she said. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in March signed the 18-week abortion ban, which is set to go into practice on July 24. The law has exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies. 

--Updated 8:15 p.m.