On Friday Attorneys General from 18 states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals opposing Arkansas’ decision to restrict surgical abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a recap of the events leading up to this point:

On March 30, Arkansas’ public health officials issued guidelines telling all medical clinics to postpone elective procedures, but abortion providers did not comply.

On April 3, state officials issued a directive prohibiting elective surgical procedures. Again, abortionists kept performing surgical abortions.

On April 7, inspectors from the State of Arkansas found proof that elective surgical abortions were taking place despite the state’s directives and guidelines.

On Friday, April 10, Little Rock Family Planning Services — Arkansas’ only surgical abortion clinic — received a “cease and desist” letter and was told to stop performing surgical abortions or face penalties from the state.

Abortionists filed a legal challenge on Monday, April 13, and U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a restraining order against the state the following day.

On April 15 Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Baker’s restraining order.

On April 17, attorneys general from 18 states filed an amicus brief in favor of the abortionists in Arkansas.

It’s important to point out that Arkansas’ health directives don’t shut down abortion facilities. Rather, they prohibit certain procedures.

The public health directives from the State of Arkansas prohibit elective surgical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic — including elective surgical abortions.

Surgical abortion wastes valuable medical resources and encourages people to travel to Arkansas from other states for abortion.

That’s why the State of Arkansas has worked so hard to address elective surgical abortion.

The state A.G.’s opposing Arkansas’ surgical abortion restrictions in the amicus brief are:

  • New York
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawai’i
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • The District of Columbia

This is not the first time these states have interfered with Arkansas’ laws and policies concerning abortion.

The same state attorneys general also filed an amicus brief in a separate lawsuit over some of Arkansas’ pro-life laws earlier this year.

In 2018 many of these same states filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit over Arkansas’ pro-life laws that prohibit dismemberment abortion; require aborted babies to be respectfully buried or cremated; expand reporting requirements for abortions performed on underage girls; and require abortion clinics to request part of a woman’s medical history before performing some abortions.

As we keep saying, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is doing more to fight for the right to life than any state A.G. we know.

Her team has won some major victories in the Eighth Circuit, and we are confident that other victories lie ahead.