The Supreme Court is allowing Arkansas to put in effect restrictions on how abortion pills are administered. Critics of a challenged state law say it could effectively end medication abortions in the state.
The justices did not comment Tuesday in rejecting an appeal from the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Arkansas that asked the court to review an appeals court ruling and reinstate a lower court order that had blocked the law from taking effect. The law says doctors who provide abortion pills must hold a contract with another physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital and who would agree to handle complications.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the court order barring enforcement of the law, but put its ruling on hold while Planned Parenthood appealed to the Supreme Court.
The legal fight over the law is not over, but the state is now free to enforce the law at least for the time being.
“As Attorney General, I have fully defended this law at every turn and applaud the Supreme Court’s decision against Planned Parenthood today,” Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, said in a statement. “Protecting the health and well-being of women and the unborn will always be a priority. We are a pro-life state and always will be as long as I am attorney general.”
Planned Parenthood said it would move quickly for emergency relief in the lower court, saying the ruling effectively makes Arkansas the first state in the country to ban medication abortions.
3 foods that help your blood pressure [sponsored]
The state had argued the restriction was needed to protect women from any complications from the abortion pills. But Planned Parenthood argued that such complications are rare, and that those complications can be handled by hospitals without contacting the group’s physicians.
The 2015 law is among several abortion restrictions the predominantly Republican state has enacted over the past several years that have been the subject of legal challenges.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.