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Constitutional Rights and the Public’s Health

Little Rock Family Planning Services. v. Rutledge


Little Rock Family Planning Services. v. Rutledge (E.D. Ark. Aug. 6, 2019): A federal district court preliminarily enjoined implementation of Arkansas laws that: (i) generally ban abortion after the 18th week of pregnancy with narrow exceptions; (ii)  ban physicians from performing an abortion if they know it is sought solely on the basis of a test, prenatal diagnosis, or a belief a fetus has Down syndrome; and (iii) require physicians who perform abortions to be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN). The court held plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their facial constitutional challenges to all 3 laws. Plaintiffs were found to likely prevail on their arguments that the 18 week and the Down syndrome bans were facially unconstitutional because they restricted pre-viability abortions. Regarding the physician certification requirements the court concluded plaintiffs were likely to prevail on the argument that the law fails to advance the state’s purported interests more effectively than existing state law, provides no discernable benefits, and creates an undue burden on women seeking abortions in the state. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – November 15, 2019.

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