A federal judge this week blocked three Arkansas pro-life laws from going into effect, including one that would ban abortions targeting unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday blocking three laws: Act 493, which bans abortion after 18 weeks; Act 619, which bans abortion if the purpose is to end the life of an unborn baby with Down syndrome; and Act 700, which requires that abortion doctors be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. All were signed into law this year.
Pro-choice groups applauded the injunction. Baker, who was nominated by President Obama, previously had temporarily blocked the laws.
“These extreme bans and restrictions would have decimated abortion access in Arkansas, so we're relieved the court has again blocked them from taking effect,” said Holly Dickson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“This ruling ensures our clients can continue to provide quality, compassionate medical care to Arkansans while we work to strike down these laws for good,” Dickson added.
Act 619 prevents an abortion doctor from performing an abortion on a woman if her sole purpose is based on a test result or prenatal diagnosis indicating “Down Syndrome in an unborn child.” The law is known as the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she would appeal the injunction.
Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, who supported all three laws, criticized the injunction.
“It's a sad day in America,” Rapert said, “when our laws protect little kittens and little puppies but it will not protect a little human being in a mother’s womb.”
“It is my intention,” he said, “that someday we will see abortion abolished and no longer used as a form of birth control.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Nathan Anderson/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.