In 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Arkansas, and the Center for Reproductive Rights challenged four Arkansas abortion restrictions that would:
Ban the standard method of abortion provided after approximately 14 weeks of pregnancy in Arkansas;
- Require that patients’ partners or other family members be notified of their abortion;
- Force the health care center to report a teenage patient’s abortion to local police and allow the state crime lab to indefinitely hold their personal medical information; and
- Force physicians to request a vast number of medical records for each patient with no medical justification, violating physician-patient confidentiality and delaying — or outright blocking — access to abortion care.
The federal lawsuit was brought on behalf of a physician dedicated to serving women, including many low-income women, at one of the last two abortion providers in Arkansas.
On July 28, 2017, the U.S. District Court granted their motion for preliminary injunction, thereby blocking enforcement of the laws until the litigation was resolved.
The state of Arkansas appealed and in August 2020, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled reversed the lower court’s decision to block the laws, and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in June Medical Services v. Russo.