Last week ACLU attorneys representing abortionists in Little Rock filed a legal challenge against the State of Arkansas over health directives that require women to test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours before having a surgical abortion.
On Thursday U.S. District Judge Brian Miller rejected the ACLU’s motion against the state.
This is a big win for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and her team.
As we have said before, the State of Arkansas is requiring everyone to test negative for COVID-19 before having an elective surgery.
This is a general rule that applies to all elective surgeries — including surgical abortions.
But abortionists have kept trying to get the courts to carve out special exemptions just 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.
Fortunately, Judge Miller has recognized that abortionists need to follow the same rules as everybody else during a pandemic like the current one.
That’s a very good thing.
Here’s a quick 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.
- On Thursday, May 7, U.S. District Judge Brian Miller rejected the ACLU’s renewed legal challenge.