Wednesday, April 22, 2020

On Wednesday a three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided to let the State of Arkansas restrict surgical abortions while a lawsuit against the state progresses. The ruling removes a restraining order U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock had imposed on the state.

Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement, saying, “This is a very good decision. It is irresponsible to let abortionists keep performing surgical abortions at a time when other doctors and surgeons have been forced to postpone their operations. Why should abortion clinics be open for business as usual when so many other clinics are closed?”

Cox said it is only fair to make abortionists play by the same rules as other health clinics. “Abortion providers have said for years that abortion is just like any other procedure. Now they are saying that abortion is different. They want it both ways. Abortion clinics should have to operate by the same health and safety rules as everyone else during the pandemic.”

Cox said restricting surgical abortions will help slow the spread of coronavirus. “Elective surgical abortions waste precious medical resources, and we have ample evidence that women from neighboring states, including COVID-19 hotspots, have been coming to Arkansas for abortions. If we want to slow the spread of coronavirus, we need to put a stop to surgical abortions for the time being.”

Cox pointed out that the state’s directive concerning abortion is very specific. “This is a public health directive that applies to all elective surgeries, including surgical abortions. It does not apply to abortions performed using abortion drugs like RU-486. It does not apply to surgical abortions performed to save the life of the mother. It doesn’t stop abortion facilities from offering other healthcare services besides abortion. Arkansas’ health directive is very reasonable.”

Cox applauded the state’s leaders for addressing elective surgical abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak. “This is the right thing to do, if we want to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. Nathanial Smith have done an excellent job issuing these health directives. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has done a phenomenal job enforcing and defending the directives, and I am confident her team will win future pro-life victories in federal court as this legal battle continues.”

Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.