Court Hearing Set for New Abortion Ban

May 16, 2013

A court hearing is set for Friday over a twelve week abortion ban passed earlier in the year by the Arkansas General Assembly. Without an injunction  the law could come into effect as early as August 15th.


The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, representing two doctors from Little Rock Family Planning Services, is seeking a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright.

Opponents of what is commonly referred to as the Fetal Heartbeat Law, sponsored by Jason Rapert (R), argue the twelve week ban ignored the parameters for abortion established in the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. It recognized the right of women to end a pregnancy before the point of viability.

The Attorney General's office is defending the legislation which bans abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heart beat is detected. Before this law was passed Arkansas defined viability, as set forth by the Supreme Court, at 25 weeks.

Two federal judges passed on the opportunity to hear the case citing personal conflicts and seniority. Judge Wright has been intermittently active in politics since supporting Bill Clinton's opponent in a 1974 congressional race. Wright publicly supported George Bush, Sr. and was appointed by him to the federal bench.