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This ruling comes as Supreme Court vacancy puts abortion rights at risk nationwide

This follows recent ruling in Iowa to protect abortion access -- the second time in less than a week

Washington, D.C. — Monday, a federal district court granted a preliminary injunction against an abortion restriction that made Arkansas the first state to effectively ban medication abortion. Last month, the Arkansas law ended access at all but one health center in the state after the Supreme Court declined to take the case. The Arkansas law, which forced medication abortion providers to contract with another OB-GYN who holds hospital admitting privileges, directly contradicts Supreme Court precedent in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) in which the high court ruled that requiring admitting privileges is medically unnecessary and creates an undue burden on women in need of care.

The federal district court in Arkansas ruled today that the law “does little if anything to advance Arkansas’ ‘legitimate interest in protecting women’s health...’” and that “...it will operate as a substantial obstacle to a woman’s choice to undergo an abortion.”

With Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement last week, the right to an abortion hangs in the balance nationwide. This ruling serves as a reminder that the courts continue to act as the last line of defense in preserving women’s rights, including access to safe, legal abortion. Just last week, the Iowa Supreme Court blocked an abortion law that would have forced women to travel twice to a health center and wait at least 72-hours before an abortion. The court recognized “that a right that is only accessible to the wealthy or privileged is no right at all.”

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Today’s ruling in Arkansas sheds light on what’s at stake for women in this country. When this law went into effect for two weeks, we saw patients scrambling, without another plan. We cannot and will not let that become a reality for women nationwide. Now is the time for us to unite and fight for everyone’s rights and freedoms -- and to call on our Senators to reject any Supreme Court nominee who opposes Roe v Wade. ”

Statement from Brandon Hill, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains:

“Today’s ruling demonstrates that the court fully understands the harmful and immediate effects this law has on women in Arkansas. Let this case stand as a warning for people across the country who are worried about the future of Roe v. Wade: the courts are often our last line of defense, and we should demand that they uphold the law of the land. For patients facing confusion or uncertainty, today’s ruling sends a clear message: medication abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible to Arkansan women — and we will do everything in our power to keep it that way.”

For more information on the case, please see the backgrounder and timeline links.

About Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP)

Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) has provided access to sexual and reproductive health care to women, men, and families since 1935. PPGP currently operates eleven health centers serving more than 75,000 women, men and teens each year in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. PPGP provides community education in its major population centers and has an active public policy program in all four states.