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Supreme Court Leaves In Place Law That Effectively Bans Abortion By Pill — For Now


The U.S. Supreme rejected an appeal to an Arkansas law that would make it illegal to have a medically induced abortion.

The U.S. Supreme rejected an appeal to an Arkansas law that would make it illegal to have a medically induced abortion.

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal of a restrictive abortion ban in Arkansas.

The law does not allow abortion by medication.

The Supreme Court sent it and was sent back down to a lower court. With no dissenters — and the law being similar to a Texas one the court struck down — NPR’s Nina Totenberg points out this is likely not the end of the line in this case.

Planned Parenthood brought the case and can still appeal to a federal judge to block the law.

“Arkansas is now shamefully responsible for being the first state to ban medication abortion,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told NPR’s Sarah McCammon in a statement. “This dangerous law also immediately ends access to safe, legal abortion at all but one health center in the state. If that’s not an undue burden, what is? This law cannot and must not stand. We will not stop fighting for every person’s right to access safe, legal abortion.”

The law was initially blocked by a federal district court judge in Arkansas, but a three-judge panel at the court of appeals in St. Louis vacated the decision.

If the ban permanently goes into effect, it would likely shutter two of the state’s three facilities that perform abortions and would make surgical abortion the only option for women in the state.

Arkansas has a long history with trying to institute abortion bans dating back to fights in the 1990s. Recently, it tried to institute a 12-week abortion ban, which would have been the strictest law in the country.

A federal appeals court, made up of a three-judge panel all appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, blocked that effort.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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