Judge refuses to dismiss suit challenging new 12-week abortion limit | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Judge refuses to dismiss suit challenging new 12-week abortion limit

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

JUDGE SUSAN WEBBER WRIGHT
  • JUDGE SUSAN WEBBER WRIGHT: Keeps abortion suit alive.
Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has denied the state of Arkansas's motion to dismiss the ACLU-backed lawsuit challenging the new state law, passed over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto, to prevent most abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.

She concluded:

Plaintiffs allege that, with certain narrow exceptions, Act 301 bans all abortions beginning at twelve weeks gestation, which they assert is a pre-viability point in a pregnancy. Plaintiffs further allege that at the twelve-week mark, a fetus has a detectible heartbeat but is still months away from the point of viability, and in Arkansas, twenty percent of abortions take place at or after twelve weeks. Accepting these allegations as true, as the Court must do at this juncture, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have alleged facts sufficient to state a claim that the provision of Act 301 that prohibits abortions at twelve weeks gestation when a fetal heartbeat is detected impermissibly infringes a woman’s Fourteenth Amendment right to chose to terminate a pregnancy before viability. See Casey, 505 U.S. at 845-846, 112 S.Ct. at 2804 (1992)(holding that an abortion law is unconstitutional on its face if “in a large fraction of the cases in which [the law] is relevant, it will operate as a substantial obstacle to a woman's choice to undergo an abortion”)

She will proceed tomorrow Friday with holding a hearing on a request for an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect while the suit is being decided.

The judge's order, which you can read in full here, rejected a request for dismissal because the suit was brought by doctors. She said the Supreme Court has allowed doctors to sue to protect rights of their patients and they had standing because of potential disciplinary action against them should they perform abortions in the future.. She also said "Plaintiffs have standing to challenge Act 301 on the basis that it imposes an undue burden on their patients’ right to choose."

The state argued that because Act 301 doesn't prohibit ALL abortions at any point before viability (it allows some narrow exceptions) it was not subject to constitutional challenge. The judge also rejected that argument, saying:

In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the fundamental holdings of Roe v. Wade—including the standard that the line between a woman's interest in control over her destiny and body and the state's interest in promoting the life or potential life of the unborn is drawn at viability—“the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb, so that the independent existence of the second life can in reason and all fairness be the object of state protection . . . . ” The Casey Court noted that although the line of viability may come earlier with advances in neonatal care, the attainment of viability continues to serve as the critical factor

Nobody has yet argued that viability is possible at 12 weeks. Arkansas also passed a law this session, not yet challenged but likely to be, that sets a 20-week cutoff for abortions.

Tags: , ,


Favorite

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Kane Webb leaving Parks and Tourism for Walmart

    Kane Webb is departing as director of the state Parks and Tourism Department to take a job as director of executive communications at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville. Cynthia Dunlap will be the agency's interim director.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • Wednesday: Headlines and the open line

    The video news roundup and the open line.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • Michael Cohen gets three years

    Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, was sentenced to three years in federal prison today for a variety of crimes, including accusations related to paying hush money to Trump mistresses to keep their stories out of circulation during the 2016 election campaign. Can't wait for the Trump tweet storm.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation