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“Heartbeat” Abortion Law in Arkansas Blocked for Now by Court
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On Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright granted an injunction against the new “heartbeat” law in Arkansas, which banned abortions after 12 weeks of conception or as soon as the heartbeat of the fetus could be heard. While issuing the temporary injunction, the court observed that it was “more than likely” that the law was unconstitutional and must be delayed until the legal challenge to the law could be tried in court.

The injunction prevents the law from coming into effect in August on its scheduled date.

The law has been challenged in court by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two doctors who perform abortions.

  
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Nancy Northup, the chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement: “Today’s decision ensures that the women of Arkansas will remain protected from this blatant unconstitutional assault on their health and fundamental reproductive rights.”

The Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act is designed to ban abortions in general once a standard ultrasound can detect fetal heartbeats. The few exemptions include cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, or if medical opinion ruled that the mother’s life was in danger, or there were major problems with the fetus.

However, doctors making mistakes in making diagnoses in favor of exemptions carry the risk of having their licenses revoked by the state medical board.

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Jerry Cox, president of the anti-abortion group Family Council criticized the court’s decision and said the group was “disappointed that Judge Susan Webber Wright has stopped the enforcement of this very good pro-life law.”

Opponents of the law are sure that it would be held unconstitutional in court and would be struck down.



Nancy Northup commented in her statement that “Such an extreme ban on abortion would have immediate and devastating consequences for women in Arkansas, especially those who could not afford to travel out of state to access reproductive health care.”

Cox, however said that their group was “very hopeful that she (the judge) will issue a ruling that this law is constitutional …”



 

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