Certification of the ban came just hours after U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade
LITTLE ROCK, AR — Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Services, overturning Roe v. Wade and eliminating the federal constitutional right to abortion, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified an abortion ban triggered by the decision. Arkansas abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood Great Plains, are no longer able to offer abortion in the state. And Arkansans will now be forced to travel hundreds of miles, hours from their homes, for essential health care.
Statement from Emily Wales, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains:
“Right now, Arkansans have fewer rights than they did when they woke up this morning. They can no longer access abortion in their state, because that federal right has been erased after nearly 50 years. And abortion providers have been put into an impossible position: denying people the care they need and deserve. We got here because politicians decided that they know better than the people they are supposed to serve. Make no mistake: our patients know what is best for their bodies, lives, and futures. Planned Parenthood Great Plains is doing everything in our power to ensure that they have the resources they need to have an abortion, including support in traveling outside of their communities for care. Arkansas, we will continue to be here for you.”
Arkansas is home to more than 677,000 women of reproductive age, and still more transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people who can become pregnant. Inevitably, the people most affected by this trigger ban will be those who already struggled to access abortion and other health care in Arkansas: Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities; low-income people; youth; LGBTQ+ people; and people in rural communities.
With a total abortion ban in effect, Arkansans will be forced to either carry an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy to term, travel out of state to obtain abortion care, or seek care outside the medical system. In addition to banning abortion, the law would also criminalize health care providers, threatening arrest and criminal fines for providing abortion care.
Anticipating the end to a federal constitutional right to safe, legal abortion, while facing state-by-state bans that worsen structural racism and disproportionately harm low-income and rural communities, PPGP recently established the Center for Abortion and Reproductive Equity (CARE). This initiative brings together PPGP’s expertise in lowering barriers to comprehensive care, with a commitment to addressing the structural challenges faced by marginalized communities in accessing health care. CARE will help patients navigate a regional network of abortion providers and mental health, social work, and community-based organizations who can provide follow-up support and advocacy opportunities for patients in the places they call home.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) has been a leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care for nearly 85 years, serving women, men, and families in communities across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Each year, PPGP provides quality health care delivered with compassion and integrity to more than 30,000 people in 11 health centers. PPGP believes that every person deserves to have access to the resources, information, and equitable access they need to make decisions about their health and lives.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.