In a blow for women’s health providers, the Supreme Court has allowed Arkansas to impose restrictions on which doctors can administer abortion pills. The Supreme Court refused to hear a Planned Parenthood affiliate’s challenge to a state law had required doctors who issue abortion pills to have contracts with other physicians with admitting privileges at hospitals who would agree to handle complications. While a lower Texas court had blocked the law from taking effect, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that order but put is own ruling on hold while waiting for Planned Parenthood to appeal to the Supreme Court. The legal fight over the controversial anti-abortion law will continue in the courts, but for now the state will be allowed to enforce the law as it sees fit.
Planned Parenthood has argued that the law put an undue burden on abortion access, noting that, as it stands, Arkansas women will be unable to access abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. The women’s health organization offers the pills at clinics at Fayetteville and Little Rock, but has said that they have been unable to find obstetricians to agree to handle hospital admissions. The state has justified the law by claiming itds objective was to protect women from complications due to abortion pills, but Planned Parenthood has noted that such complications are very unusual and can be handled by hospitals without needing to contact the women’s health providers.
“This dangerous law also immediately ends access to safe, legal abortion at all but one health center in the state,” said Dawn Laguens, vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “If that’s not an undue burden, what is? This law cannot and must not stand. We will not stop fighting for every person’s right to access safe, legal abortion.”
In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Texas that had required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals on the basis that it created an undue burden on abortion access. Before the Texas law was overturned, more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics were forced into closure.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.