May 29, 2018
A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will allow a law banning medical abortion in Arkansas to stand--a decision that forced Planned Parenthood to suspend its services and leaves just one abortion clinic in the entire state.
\u201cJUST IN: SCOTUS just denied Planned Parenthood's petition in Planned Parenthood vs. Jegley. This means that Arkansas has for now effectively banned medication abortion & ended access to abortion at all but ONE health center. #CourtsMatter #StopTheBans https://t.co/1e97kI7V3T\u201d— Planned Parenthood Action (@Planned Parenthood Action) 1527606808
\u201cThis fight is far from over. This law cannot and must not stand. We will not stop fighting for every person\u2019s right to access safe, legal abortion. #StopTheBans\u201d— Planned Parenthood Action (@Planned Parenthood Action) 1527606808
"Arkansas is now shamefully responsible for being the first state to ban medication abortion," Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood's executive vice president, said in a statement. "This dangerous law immediately ends access to safe, legal abortion at all but one health center in the state."
The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a 2015 law that requires clinics that provide medication abortions to work with doctors who have admitting privileges at a hospital in the state.
Planned Parenthood, which provides only medication abortions in Arkansas, says it has been unable to find doctors who would enter into contracts with them, due to the risk doctors face of "being ostracized from their communities and [facing] harassment and violence toward themselves, their family, and their private practices," according to U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, who blocked the law in 2016.
An appeals court reversed Baker's decision, sending the case to the Supreme Court.
Two Planned Parenthood health centers that provide only medication abortions will end their abortion care services for now, while the case is litigated in the lower courts. Little Rock Family Planning Services will be able to continue its surgical abortion care.
The anti-choice movement's efforts to impose new requirements on abortion providers are aimed at placing obstacles in front of women who seek legal abortion care, critics say--under the guise of keeping patients safe.
\u201c#SCOTUS refusal to take up challenge and overturn Arkansas law limiting access to medication abortion is truly insidious. It shows how deeply divorced our courts R from evidence, public health, and medicine. Medication abortion happens early in pregnancy and is completely safe.\u201d— JodiJacobson \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 \ud83e\ude78\ud83e\uddb7 @email@example.com (@JodiJacobson \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 \ud83e\ude78\ud83e\uddb7 @firstname.lastname@example.org) 1527603261
\u201cScience and rigorous evidence-based research shows that medication abortion is safe. But state governments are standing in the way with burdensome and unnecessary restrictions. https://t.co/ZNh2G9NiOv\u201d— Dr. Daniel Grossman (@Dr. Daniel Grossman) 1527511804
\u201cGorsuch's Supreme Court is acting to prop up an ideology and not to promote women's rights and safety through good medical care. It's a terrible injustice to women, a bad look for the Court and a scary look at what's to come if the Courts continue to be packed by Trump et. al.\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1527607812
A 2012 Princeton University study found that less than one percent of women who obtained a medication abortion--in which the patient takes two pills to induce an abortion--experienced a serious complication.
Admitting privileges for doctors providing medication abortions are unnecessary, Baker wrote, as "emergency room physicians are well qualified to evaluate and treat most complications that can arise after a medication abortion" and those complications are "identical to those suffered by women experiencing miscarriage, who receive treatments in hospitals every day through emergency physicians."
A law in Texas requiring clinics to have admitting privileges was struck down in a 5-3 vote in 2016, with Justice Stephen Breyer saying the "undue burden on abortion access" it created violated the constitution.
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