Contact: Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, 913.345.4693
Little Rock, AR – Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) condemns the 8th Circuit Court’s ruling delivered today, which overturned the lower court’s decision to temporarily block an unconstitutional measure that forces medication abortion providers to have a signed contract with a physician with admitting privileges in order to provide medication abortion. If this unconstitutional and medically unnecessary law, which provides no benefit to women, takes effect, Arkansans will lose access to safe, legal abortion at all but one health center in the entire state, and will completely lose access to medication abortion, a safe, effective, and early method of abortion. This would severely limit abortion access for women in Arkansas, forcing many women to travel out of state to access safe, legal medical care, if they can at all. Right now, while PPGP evaluates all of its legal options, all services will continue at both health centers in Fayetteville and Little Rock. There will be no disruption to abortion services at Planned Parenthood health centers in Arkansas. “PPGP is carefully evaluating all of our legal options and will leave no stone unturned in order to protect Arkansans and their right to access safe, legal abortion. Last year, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court of the United States clearly ruled that requiring admitting privileges for abortion providers and other medically unnecessary restrictions are unconstitutional. It is unfortunate we are now forced to continue litigating this fact long after the highest court in the land delivered its final say,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO, Laura McQuade said. “Let’s be clear, laws like this one have no basis in quality patient care and are intended to end access to safe, legal abortion. Ideological extremists in the statehouse, not medical experts, design these policies that have no basis in medical science. Every leading medical authority including American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA), condemn these restrictions and affirm that abortion is and will always be one of the safest medical procedures. PPGP is proud to provide high quality abortion care and we will find a path to keeping access open for the countless patients who rely on us,” McQuade said. #### Additional Background The law in question requires that physicians that provide medication abortion have a formal agreement with a backup provider who has admitting privileges at a hospital. This requirement is difficult to meet for many reasons, including because this law limits eligible backup providers to a very narrow scope of medical practitioners, and because, as numerous courts have recognized, abortion providers face severe stigma, harassment, and violence. This law fails to guarantee the privacy – and therefore the safety -- of the backup provider and could open physicians up to harassment or political pressure. This law is also medically unnecessary and provides no benefits for Planned Parenthood’s patients. Abortions are very safe. According to the CDC, abortion has a more than 99% safety record. In those rare cases when complications do occur, they are similar to those that may occur from miscarriage, which ob-gyns and other physicians treat every day. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland works every day to make sure women receive high-quality health care in a safe, respectful environment. We have rigorous standards and training for staff as well as emergency plans in place because women’s safety is our first priority. Medication Abortion American women have been safely and legally using medication abortion for well over a decade. In fact, one in four women decides on this method if it is an option. And medical studies have shown that medication abortion is just as safe as surgical abortion. Medication abortion gives a woman the option of what may feel like a more private and less invasive method of ending a pregnancy, in a setting in which she feels most comfortable. And she is supported throughout the process by a medical professional. In the extremely unlikely event that a patient experiences a serious complication from an abortion and requires hospital-based care, the high-quality, experienced physicians and nurses who work at Planned Parenthood and other health centers providing abortion have detailed systems in place to ensure that a patient gets care quickly. Women who have a medication abortion can reach a PPGP medical professional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions. Just like any outpatient medical facility, health centers that provide abortion have the staffing, equipment and referral arrangements in place to handle emergencies in the unlikely event of a complication.