Judge Blocks 3 Arkansas Abortion Restrictions From Taking Effect

Women seeking abortion in the state appear to face "an imminent threat to their constitutional rights," the judge said in her grant for an injunction.

A federal judge temporarily blocked three Arkansas abortion restrictions from going into effect on Tuesday, including one that would ban most abortion at 18 weeks of pregnancy. 

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker’s decision is in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood on behalf of Little Rock Family Planning Services, one of just three abortion providers in the state and the only one providing surgical abortions. 

Though she is taking more time to review the case, Baker said in her 186-page ruling that, so far, the plaintiffs have made the more compelling case.

“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,” she wrote.

In addition to blocking the 18-week ban, the judge’s ruling prevents two other Arkansas laws from going into effect: a requirement that doctors performing abortions be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology, and a ban on abortions sought because the fetus has a Down syndrome diagnosis. 

This is the second time Baker has stopped those laws from going into effect. The injunction she issued on July 24 was set to expire Tuesday night.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office told The Associated Press that it was appealing Baker’s decision.