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Federal judge blocks Arkansas comprehensive abortion ban

by Premier Journalist
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Arkansas' attempt to ban nearly all abortions within state lines was temporarily blocked by US District Judge Kristine G. Baker over constitutionality concerns.

The new abortion ban in Arkansas would ban providers from providing abortions "except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency." These rules did not offer any exceptions for sexual assault, incest, or fetal issues. These abortions came with the penalty of $100,000 per violation alongside ten years in prison; making it one of the more restrictive states regarding abortions. When asked the reasons for the bill's intent, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson stated that he signed it "because it is a direct challenge to Roe V. Wade." The bill authors even went as far as to write in the bill's text that "it is time for the United States Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustice and the crime against humanity which is being perpetuated" by Roe V. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case which set a precedent for abortion becoming legal.

While the law passed in March 2021, it received a significant amount of feedback from pro-choice organizations. The American Civil Liberty Union, Planned Parenthood and many others filed a challenge to the ban in May, asking that a federal judge look over this law to determine if it was acceptable.

In her ruling submitted on July 20th, Judge Baker writes that her decision to block the bill is based on her understanding that any bans on abortion before a fetus becomes viable are "categorically unconstitutional." The block will go into effect on July 28th. 


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