Tuesday, May 29, 2018
May 29, 2018 (New York Times): Supreme Court Allows Arkansas Abortion Restrictions to Stand, by Adam Liptak:
Today the Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari in a case challenging an Arkansas law that requires that doctors providing medication abortions have a contractual agreement with a doctor who has hospital admitting privileges in case complications arise. In 2016, an Arizona district court preliminarily enjoined the law before it went into effect. The district court decision was issued before Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt but applied a similar test balancing the benefits and burdens of the law. Because of the low complication rate for medication abortion, the district court enjoined the law finding that it was "a solution in search of a problem." The 8th Circuit vacated the decision holding that a facial challenge to the statute required the district court to make a finding estimating the number of women who would be unduly burdened by the statute.
Planned Parenthood has said that it is unable to find doctors in the state with hospital admitting privileges who are willing to enter into contracts, and it will stop providing medication abortions in the state if the law goes into effect. There are currently only 3 abortion providers in the state, two of which are operated by Planned Parenthood and only provide medication abortion. The third provider, located in Little Rock provides both surgical and medication abortions.
The case now goes back to the district court to make further findings.