LITTLE ROCK – The American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project and the ACLU of Arkansas filed notice in state circuit court today of their intent to appeal citations against three Arkansas abortion clinics issued under a state law banning physicians from collecting payment during the mandated waiting period. Asserting that the state law is unconstitutional and that the Board failed to state its reasoning for upholding the citations, the ACLU of Arkansas plans to ask the court to dismiss the citations and invalidate the law.
“Once again Arkansas politicians have devised an underhanded scheme to drive clinics out of business and push care out of reach,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “This law is a plainly unconstitutional attempt to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services, and punish the doctors who provide them. It’s sad that the only time Arkansas politicians seem to care about people’s medical bills is when it advances their own ideological agenda.”
On November 8, 2018 the Arkansas Board of Health upheld citations against three abortion clinics operated by Little Rock Family Planning Services (LRFP) and Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP). Affirming the Department of Health’s determination that the clinics violated state laws barring physicians from collecting payment until 48 hours after patient’s first visit has elapsed, the Board failed to make specific findings or address the issues raised by LRFP and PPGP in their original appeal.
“No medical professional in the history of this state has been required by the government to provide mandated medical services for free, but that’s exactly what the state has done,” said Bettina Brownstein, ACLU of Arkansas cooperating attorney.
In a motion filed with the Board earlier this month, LRFP and PPGP asserted the law, Arkansas statute 20-16-1703, infringes numerous provisions of the state and federal constitutions, including the 5th and 14th Amendment right to equal protection, the right to privacy, and the prohibition on government taking private property without “just compensation.”