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Last spring the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 383. This good, pro-life law makes it clear abortion clinics must be inspected at least annually and that the Department of Health will shut down an abortion clinic that fails inspection. It also closes a loophole in Arkansas’ informed-consent law regarding abortion.
Despite the fact that Act 383 is a reasonable law, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit attempting to strike it down as unconstitutional. That lawsuit currently is pending in federal court.
Last November the Department of Health inspected a Planned Parenthood clinic in Northwest Arkansas. The department recently sent a letter to the clinic, saying,
On November 15, 2017, the Arkansas Department of Health conducted an inspection of your facility. The findings from this inspection revealed the use of cloth booties which are incapable of being disinfected, to cover the stirrups on the ultrasound exam room table.
It is our understanding this has been corrected. . . . [Y]ou have thirty (30) days from the mailing of this notice to respond with the confirmation or ask for a hearing. If you fail to do so, the license will be suspended. The suspension shall remain in effect until all violations have been corrected . . . .
Infection control is a major concern in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices nationwide. In this case, the inspectors from the Department of Health did their jobs by citing the abortion clinic for using products that could not be disinfected properly.
Yesterday the U.S. Senate confirmed judicial nominee Steve Grasz.
Mr. Grasz is a Nebraska attorney President Trump nominated to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals last August.
In November, a committee from the American Bar Association labeled Mr. Grasz unqualified to serve as a judge because of his pro-life work as an attorney.
The American Bar Association committee cited Mr. Grasz’s “pro-life agenda,” saying his personal convictions “created a lack of objectivity” and that Mr. Grasz’s “passionately-held social agenda appeared to overwhelm and obscure the ability to exercise dispassionate and unbiased judgment.”
No one should be barred from public service for being pro-life. While it is impossible to know for sure, Mr. Grasz’s track record working for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office leads us to believe he will make an excellent federal judge.
During his time with the A.G.’s office, Mr. Grasz helped defend Nebraska’s pro-life law banning partial-birth abortions before the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the court ultimately struck down the law in Stenberg v. Carhart, the ruling paved the way for a federal law banning partial-birth abortion; that law was upheld in Gonzalez v. Carhart.
In 1999 Mr. Grasz helped file an amicus brief in support of Texas public schools after a lower court ruled student-led prayer at public school sporting events was unconstitutional.
As a justice in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Grasz will help preside over cases affecting Arkansas — including, possibly, some of Arkansas’ pro-life cases that are currently pending in federal court.