May 4, 2020

Federal Judge Refuses to Grant Restraining Order Against Arkansas Surgical Abortion Restrictions During Pandemic

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker refused to grant a temporary restraining order against Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s second executive order restricting elective surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After Gov. Hutchinson's first executive order expired, she issued a new order aimed at starting to open up the state to business once again. There are three criteria elective surgeries must meet to be legal under the governor's new order:

1) The patient must test negative for COVID-19 48 hours before the procedure.

2) The surgery must be an out-patient procedure.

3) The surgical facility must have an "ample supply" of personal protective equipment.

The ACLU stepped in to challenge the requirements on behalf of Arkansas's only surgical abortion facility, claiming the requirements put too much of a burden on women seeking abortions. Without a temporary restraining order, a judge would have to hear the entire case and make a full decision if the ACLU were to press further to block the executive order.

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