Planned Parenthood’s two abortion facilities in Arkansas as well as a separate surgical abortion facility in Little Rock filed a notice in court that they will appeal the State Board of Health’s recent determination that the clinics violated a pro-life law Family Council supported in 2015.
In 2015 the Arkansas Legislature passed the Woman’s Right to Know Act that ensures women inquiring about abortion are given all the facts first — including information about abortion’s risks, consequences, and alternatives. The law also says women must be given at least 48 hours to weigh their options and that they cannot be charged for the abortion or for services related to the abortion before that 48-hour reflection period is over.
In some states, abortion facilities charge women up front for an abortion, before the end of any waiting periods. This can make the woman feel financially obligated to go through with the abortion even if she has second thoughts about abortion. The Woman’s Right to Know Act helps prevent that from happening in Arkansas.
Since 2015, annual reports from the Arkansas Department of Health indicate more than 700 women have chosen not to have abortions after receiving the information outlined in the Woman’s Right to Know Act.
Last spring inspectors with the Arkansas Department of Health cited Planned Parenthood’s facilities and Little Rock Family Planning Services for charging women for some procedures related to abortion before the end of the 48-hour reflection period. The three clinics took their case to the State Board of Health, which determined last October that the facilities had in fact violated state law.
This week the three clinics announced they will appeal that decision in court.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Planned Parenthood, Little Rock Family Planning Services, and the ACLU will argue that the law is unconstitutional and overly burdensome and that the Health Department exceeded its authority.
I am confident Arkansas can win this legal challenge over the state’s pro-life law.
Many states require abortionists to wait anywhere from 24-72 hours before performing an abortion, and Arkansas is not the only state that prohibits abortion facilities from charging women ahead of time for abortion or abortion-related procedures.
One of the jobs of the Arkansas Department of Health is to inspect abortion facilities to ensure they are complying with state laws. If they don’t have the authority to cite Planned Parenthood for violating this law, who does?
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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.