US Supreme Court upholds Arkansas law banning drug-induced abortions

A protester holds up a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. | Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a lawsuit challenging an Arkansas law that bans medically-induced abortions.

The law, passed in 2015, requires physicians who dispense pills that induce abortions to have an admitting privileges contract with a nearby hospital.

According to the Washington Examiner, the law was challenged in court by Planned Parenthood Great Plains, saying it placed an undue burden on pregnant women seeking abortions.

The Supreme Court justices denied Planned Parenthood's request to review a ruling from the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, allowing the legislation to take effect.

The Stream reported that Arkansas was prevented from enacting the law following a ruling from a federal judge in Little Rock.

However, the ruling was overturned by the Eighth Circuit, arguing that the lower court had failed to make essential factual findings.

In its petition to the Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood noted that tried to comply with the legislation, but there were no physicians who were willing to enter into an admitting privileges contract with the abortion provider.

"Planned Parenthood contacted every OB-GYN it could identify in the state, and none agreed to enter into the required contract," the petition stated, as reported by The Stream.

"As the district court recognized, this is not surprising because 'physicians who provide abortions or associate with physicians who provide abortions' in Arkansas 'risk being ostracized from their communities and face harassment and violence toward themselves, their family, and their private practices,'" it continued.

Planned Parenthood further stated that the law would leave the state without a single abortion provider.

The organization's facilities in Little Rock and Fayetteville only perform medical abortions, according to Life Site News.

In a statement following the Supreme Court decision, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Ruthledge insisted that the legislation was aimed at protecting the well-being of women and children.

"As attorney general, I have fully defended this law at every turn and applaud the Supreme Court's decision against Planned Parenthood today," Ruthledge said, as reported by The Stream.

"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," she added.

The Stream noted that the dismissal of the case only affirms the Eighth Circuit ruling that remanded the suit to a lower court. The lawsuit may be enjoined in the future after factual findings in the case are assessed by a federal judge.