July 31, 2017 | Posted in Abortion | By

On Friday afternoon a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court order that had blocked a pro-life law passed in 2015.

The pro-life law is Act 577 of 2015, the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act.

This good, pro-life law requires abortionists to follow FDA protocols when dispensing abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486; it also requires them to contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a local hospital–just in case the woman experiences any complications from the abortion.

A lot of people may be surprised to learn the Eighth Circuit is just now weighing in on legislation passed more than two years ago. Here’s a very brief timeline of events from March of 2015 through last Friday:

  • March 20, 2015: The Arkansas Legislature passed Act 577, the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act. The law was set to go into effect January 1, 2016.
  • December 30, 2015: Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which has two clinics in Arkansas, filed a lawsuit saying it had been unable to find a doctor with admitting privileges at a local hospital to handle emergencies resulting from these chemical abortions, and that Planned Parenthood would no longer may be able to perform drug-induced abortions in Arkansas if Act 577 were enforced.
  • December 31, 2015: U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary restraining order blocking the law just hours before it was set to go into effect. A few weeks later Judge baker followed up by issuing a preliminary injunction blocking the law from being enforced.
  • August 28, 2016: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a brief asking the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Judge Baker’s preliminary injunction against the law.
  • September 21, 2016: A three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard Attorney General Rutledge’s arguments in court.
  • July 28, 2017: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals panel overturned Judge Baker’s preliminary injunction and sent the issue back down to her court. The panel noted that the judge failed to estimate the number of women who would be burdened by Act 577 before blocking the law. Among other things, the panel wrote, “In the present case, the district court abused its discretion because it failed to consider whether Planned Parenthood satisfied the requirements necessary to sustain a facial challenge to an abortion regulation.”

Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.