The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and Planned Parenthood, which filed the lawsuit against the Arkansas ban along with other abortion rights groups, cheered the order.
“Arkansas pursued a clearly unconstitutional law that would disproportionately harm people of color, people who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes — all of whom already face significant barriers to accessing health care and higher risks of pregnancy-related death,” said Meagan Burrows, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “The court’s ruling today should serve as a stark reminder to anti-abortion politicians in Arkansas and other states that they cannot strip people of their right to make the deeply personal decision about whether to have an abortion or continue a pregnancy. We’ll continue to fight to make sure abortion stays legal in Arkansas and that the state’s unconstitutional ban is struck down for good.”
The office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge expressed her disappointment.
“The Attorney General is disappointed in today’s decision by Judge Baker,” spokeswoman Stephanie Sharp said. “She will be reviewing it to consider the appropriate next step to protect the life of the unborn.”
The law “is just as unconstitutional as all of the other pre-viability abortion bans struck down before it,” the ACLU wrote, pointing to Hutchinson’s comments on Fintech Zoom.
“This will inflict immediate and irreparable harm upon Plaintiffs’ patients by blatantly violating their constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, threatening their health and well-being, and forcing them to continue their pregnancies against their will,” they added.
Burrows acknowledged during an interview with Fintech Zoom before the measure was blocked that the judge might hold off on deciding on whether to permanently block the Arkansas law until the Supreme Court issues a ruling on the Mississippi ban, most likely next year.
“This is kind of the moment that states like Arkansas, and anti-abortion politicians in those states, have been waiting for,” she said. “But as it stands right now, Roe v. Wade and its bright line rule that states cannot outright prohibit abortion prior to viability is still the law of the land. And all lower courts — both district courts and courts of appeals — are bound by that unless and until the Supreme Court changes course.”
Fintech Zoom’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.