Arkansas Abortion Pill Ruling Stands

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 29, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Planned Parenthood can't get past the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

For the third time in as many months, the appeals court has handed Planned Parenthood a defeat. This time, the justices refused to reconsider a prior decision that upheld a law that restricts access to abortion pills.

"This common sense law will help ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections for women," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge after the last decision in Planned Parenthood v. Jegley.

"Common Sense Law"

The law, passed by state legislators last year, requires doctors who provide miscarriage pills to have hospital privileges in the event of complications. In July, the appeals court reversed an injunction against the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Dr. Stephanie Ho in the case, asked that an en banc panel reconsider the decision. But the Eighth Circuit declined, clearing the way for the state law to go into effect.

Planned Parenthood responded with a press release, saying the law is "dangerous." The organization said the law would "completely end access to medication abortion -- a safe, early, and effective form of abortion -- for women in the state."

According to reports, seven other states have similar laws requiring doctors to have agreements with local hospitals.

Defeated, Defunded

The latest Eighth Circuit ruling against Planned Parenthood follows a decision last month to defund it. In Does v. Gillespie, the appeals court said that Arkansas can kick the organization out of its network of Medicaid-approved health providers.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson called that ruling "a substantial legal victory for the right of the state to determine whether Medicaid providers are acting in accordance with best practices, and affirms the prerogative of the state to make reasoned judgments on the Medicaid program."

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