Yesterday Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to let the state enforce restrictions on surgical abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a recap of everything that has happened with this case in the past week:

Last Friday the State of Arkansas sent a cease and desist order to a facility in Little Rock that was performing elective surgical abortions despite state health directives prohibiting elective surgeries.

The abortion facility responded by filing a legal challenge against the state on Monday.

On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary restraining order against the state. The order effectively allows surgical abortions to continue as usual in Arkansas.

Yesterday the A.G.’s office asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Baker’s bad restraining order.

Given the Eighth Circuit’s track record, we are hopeful that the court will put Judge Baker’s bad order on hold and ultimately rule against the abortion facilities.

Surgical abortions waste precious medical resources.

We have ample evidence that women from neighboring states, including COVID-19 hotspots, are coming to Arkansas for abortions. Traveling like that increases the risk that people in Arkansas and elsewhere will be exposed to the coronavirus. 

Ordering abortionists to stop performing elective surgical abortions is the right thing to do, and we’re proud of Arkansas’ Governor, Attorney General, and public health officials for standing by that decision.

We will continue to monitor and report on this situation as it develops.