The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project will be in court today as a federal judge hears oral arguments on behalf of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) and Little Rock Family Planning (LRFP) in a joint lawsuit challenging Act 383, a discriminatory law that singles out abortion providers during the health center licensing and inspection process.
The Arkansas Legislature passed this Targeted Restriction against Abortion Providers (TRAP) law earlier this year. The law mandates that the state of Arkansas suspend or revoke an abortion provider’s health center license for even the most minor of errors. No other type of health care provider is held to the same harsh standard.
“Act 383 is just one more ideologically motivated barrier for abortion providers like PPGP and LRFP in an already multi-layered regulatory process in the state of Arkansas. This law sets up a minefield during the licensing and inspection process that no other health care provider in Arkansas is forced to navigate. Despite the fact that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures with minimal complication rates, Arkansas women would bear the sole consequence of this medically unnecessary law in a state where their access to safe, legal abortion is already greatly limited,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains Interim President and CEO, Aaron Samulcek said.
“When clinics get shut down, women suffer. That’s why we're fighting to block this politically-motivated attack on abortion providers and the women they serve. Using the all-too-familiar ruse of 'protecting women,' this law actually endangers women's health by singling out clinics that women use and targeting them with onerous penalties and irrational requirements,” ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director, Rita Sklar said.
Leading medical authorities like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have affirmed abortion is one of the safest medical procedures with low complication rates. Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court firmly ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, that medically unnecessary restrictions, like Act 383, which do not improve the health and safety of patients, are unconstitutional and should not be enforced.