Judge maintains block on Arkansas abortion laws

Judge maintains block on Arkansas abortion laws
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A federal judge Tuesday maintained a block on three Arkansas abortion laws that would have restricted access to the procedure.

The new preliminary injunction against the laws supplements a court issued 14-day temporary restraining order implemented last month that was set to expire Tuesday.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood, among others, filed the suit in June against state laws that would ban abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, only allow certified obstetrician-gynecologists to perform the procedure and that outlaw abortion targeting fetuses believed to have down syndrome, saying the restrictions violates the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. 

“These extreme bans and restrictions would have decimated abortion access in Arkansas, so we’re relieved the court has again blocked them from taking effect,” said Holly Dickson, legal director and interim executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. 

“This ruling ensures our clients can continue to provide quality, compassionate medical care to Arkansans while we work to strike down these laws for good.”  

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

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker wrote in her ruling last month implementing the 14-day restraining order that Arkansas women seeking abortions would face an "imminent threat to their constitutional rights" and "suffer irreparable harm" if the laws were allowed to take effect. 

Arkansas is one of a slate of Republican-led states that has sought to implement an array of abortion restrictions. Advocates say the campaign is intended in part to spark a Supreme Court battle that they hope could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that first legalized abortion.