Arkansas Can’t Ban Abortions After 12 Weeks

     (CN) – A federal judge temporarily blocked an Arkansas law that bans abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy from taking effect in August as scheduled.
     After lawmakers successfully overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto, the second-most restrictive abortion law in the nation was set to take effect Aug. 16.
     U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright ordered the preliminary injunction after the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued to block the law, which passed the Arkansas Legislature in March.
     Judge Wright issued the temporary block from the bench, after hearing arguments from both the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights. The groups plan to press the court for a permanent injunction, the ACLU said.
     “We have asked the court to stop this dangerous law from going into effect,” the ACLU’s Arkansas legal director Holly Dickson said in a statement. “This law is aimed at allowing politicians to insert themselves into deeply personal and private medical care and decisions for which they should have no say.”
     Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, called the law “an extreme example of how lawmakers around the country are trying to limit a woman’s ability to make the best decision for herself and her family.”
     “Far from safeguarding women’s health, these laws are designed with one purpose – to eliminate all access to abortion care,” Camp said in a statement.
     The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized the right to abortion in all 50 states, though individual state laws vary wildly on the statutory time limits for abortions to take place.
     North Dakota recently passed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, banning most procedures after six weeks of pregnancy. Last month, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a “tax reform measure” that declares that “the life of each human being begins at fertilization.”
     Officially, California law allows abortions “prior to the viability of the fetus or when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.” And California lawmakers proposed a bill last month to ease abortion restrictions by allowing nurses and midwives to perform procedures in the early stages of pregnancy.

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