Andrew Beck, Senior Staff Attorney, Reproductive Freedom Project
The ACLU was in a federal appeals court on Thursday, challenging a slate of Arkansas laws intended to prevent women from being able to get abortions. One of the four laws we are challenging is a ban on the dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure, a safe and effective abortion method. If enforced, the ban would prevent women from being able to obtain an abortion at all.
Arkansas’ ban is part of an anti-abortion campaign being orchestrated by states across the country. Already, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Kentucky have passed similar bans. But so far, every court to examine these laws has seen them for what they are — blatant attempts to ban abortion and prohibit physicians from using their best judgment in caring for their patients.
The motivation behind these restrictions is not grounded in medicine or science. Major medical groups like the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have long spoken out against D&E bans. And, this year, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that D&E is the “superior method” of abortion after the earliest weeks of the second trimester.
D&E bans are just the latest attempt by politicians to insert themselves into the exam room and try to micromanage medicine in order to score political points. In doing so, they are infringing upon doctors’ best judgment and a woman’s ability to get the care that is safe and most appropriate for her.
Arkansas is not alone in these efforts to obstruct abortion access. Kentucky has also attempted to ban D&E abortions. The Kentucky legislature also attempted to shut down the Commonwealth’s last abortion clinic without any medical justification, and passed a law mandating that women undergo a forced, medically unnecessary ultrasound prior to abortion, designed to shame them and stigmatize abortion care. We challenged that law too, and a federal court blocked it last year.
We know exactly what the anti-abortion movement’s end goal is — to ban abortion in the United States. We will do everything in our power to fight these laws in the courts so that all women can get the abortion care they need.