Late last week attorneys for the ACLU and abortionists renewed their legal challenge against the State of Arkansas over surgical abortions amid COVID-19.
New directives from state health officials require that a patient get a negative COVID-19 test before having an elective surgical procedure — including an elective surgical abortion.
In a statement on Twitter, the ACLU even went so far as to say, “Forcing people to search for [coronavirus] tests that aren’t available or else continue an unwanted pregnancy is cruel and medically unnecessary.”
Here’s a recap of everything that has led up to this point:
- On March 30, Governor Hutchinson issued guidelines telling all medical clinics to postpone elective procedures, but abortion providers did not comply.
- On April 3, Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. Nathaniel Smith issued a directive, with the force of law, specifically naming abortion providers. 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 April 13.
- On April 14, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a restraining order against the state.
- 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 22, a three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Judge Baker’s temporary restraining order, thereby letting the state restrict surgical abortions.
- On April 27, the State of Arkansas rolled out new directives permitting elective outpatient surgical procedures if the patient tests negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the procedure.
- On Friday, May 1, the ACLU renewed its legal challenge against the state, arguing that it is unreasonable to require a woman to test negative for COVID-19 before having a surgical abortion.
Once again, it appears Arkansas’ abortionists don’t want to follow the same rules as everyone else.
As we have said before, Arkansas’ public health directive are very reasonable. They apply equally to all elective surgeries, including surgical abortions. But abortion facilities keep asking federal courts to make exceptions for them.
At a time when other doctors and facilities are abiding by state rules to help fight COVID-19, it’s very telling that abortionists still want special treatment.
The Eighth Circuit made it clear in their last ruling that it’s completely reasonable for the state to restrict surgical abortions at a time like this. In light of that fact, it seems likely that Arkansas will win this new legal challenge as well.