Supreme Court Rejects Arkansas Ban On Abortions After 12 Weeks

by Alexandra Svokos
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On Tuesday morning, the US Supreme Court refused to hear an abortion case that, if it was heard and upheld, would ban abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The case in question was Beck v. Edwards, and it's a dispute over an Arkansas law banning abortion past 12 weeks. A lower court stopped the law in 2014, and a US appeals court also blocked the law in 2015.

By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court essentially said the appeals court was right to block the law. Consequently, the law will not go into effect, and Arkansas women will still be allowed to get abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The proposed ban would run against the Supreme Court's ruling that women must have access to abortion services without "undue burden," a ruling stemming from Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 case the Supreme Court decided.

In a statement, Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said,

Arkansas cannot veto a woman's decision to have an abortion, period. This personal, medical decision rests with a woman, her family, and her doctor – not politicians. We are gratified but unsurprised that the Court found nothing worthy of their review in this case.

Last fall, the Supreme Court agreed to hear another major abortion case, which is being argued this year. Whole Woman's Health v. Cole also has to do with an "undue burden" preventing women from getting abortions, which have been legal in this country since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The Whole Woman's case has to do with Texas laws forcing unnecessary requirements on abortion clinics. The requirements already caused many clinics to shut down -- making it more difficult for Texas women to get abortions.

That Supreme Court decision will be announced in June.

Citations: Immigration policy: Review and decision this Term (SCOTUSblog), Appeals Court Strikes Down Arkansas Law Banning Abortion At 12 Weeks (Huffington Post), Arkansas Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court on 12-Week Abortion Ban (Bloomberg), U.S. justices reject Arkansas bid to revive abortion law (WSAU), U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Review One of the Most Extreme Abortion Bans in the Nation (Center for Reproductive Rights)