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Arkansas to appeal decision striking 12-week abortion ban

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published April 11, 2014 at 11:56 a.m. Updated April 11, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.


State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, says Friday, April 11, 2014, at the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock that the state will appeal a federal judge's decision to strike down part of a law that banned most abortions after 12 weeks.

Overturned abortion ban to be appealed, Rapert says

State Sen. Jason Rapert says an appeal will be filed after a federal judge struck down the 12-week abortion ban he worked to pass last year. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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The state of Arkansas will appeal a federal judge's decision to strike down part of a law that banned most abortions at or after 12 weeks.

State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, said at a news conference Friday at the state Capitol that Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told him a notice of appeal would be filed by the end of the day.

The notice of appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was filed a short time after the news conference ended, online court records show, and McDaniel confirmed the filing in a subsequent news release.

“I have spoken candidly with Sen. Rapert about the risks and costs associated with an appeal," McDaniel said in the statement.

"Sen. Rapert has specifically asked me to appeal. I agreed to do so as long as there would be no impact on the budget of the Arkansas State Medical Board, the defendant in this matter, should the state be required to pay attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs. I have been personally assured by Senate President Pro Tempore-designate [Jonathan] Dismang and House Speaker-designate [Jeremy] Gillam that the Medical Board budget will not be affected, and that any costs borne from this litigation will be paid through a separate appropriation."

He added the attorney general's office will "diligently litigate this matter to its conclusion."

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last month struck down the part of Act 301 of 2013 that outlaws most abortions at or after 12 weeks but left intact other parts of the law requiring abortion candidates to have an abdominal ultrasound and be told the medical probability of the fetus’ survival if brought to term, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

Speaking at the news conference beside several legislators who supported Act 301, Rapert called the Roe. v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortions "unjust," "immoral," and a mistake.

"I call upon the current United States Supreme Court to revisit this issue and right the wrongs of their predecessors," he said, adding that he believes the way the Arkansas act was written makes it a candidate for reaching the nation's highest court.

"This bill uniquely, according to legal scholars, by granting the exceptions that are the normal areas of contention, this bill is a bill they feel is soft enough or clean enough that it really could be utilized to once again visit the standard of viability," Rapert said.

Comments on: Arkansas to appeal decision striking 12-week abortion ban

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Boboben says... April 11, 2014 at 1:26 p.m.

"And here... we... Go!"

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JuanCarlosEspinoza says... April 11, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

Idiots costing taxpayer $$ to further their own political agendas.

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 11, 2014 at 1:43 p.m.

More state money down a rat hole, just because a religious right nut case from Bigelow did not get his way. Other laws like this have been found unconstitutional, as this one will be as well.

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picksooie says... April 11, 2014 at 2:58 p.m.

Sen. Rapert, regardless of how this act was written, it's inevitable an effort to appeal will ultimately be a waste of precious time, money and resources. Please stop.

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Dontcallmenames says... April 11, 2014 at 4:52 p.m.

How about it never should have been taken to a judge in the first place on appeal, o ye who are worried about wasted tax payer money? How about the the citizens vote on a law and end of story, no interfering by ONE person, judge or whomever.

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herenow says... April 11, 2014 at 4:55 p.m.

By all means make sure ever conceivable dollar is spent defending a law that likely will not withstand a Supreme Court hearing since the state apparently doesn't have any other pressing needs. Of course Rapert is one of the ill-advised senators and representative who voted to cut funding for programs that would help many of those children after they are born. Apparently his opinion is that once the child is born his --Rapert's-- job is done. Let the kid get a job so he can feed himself/herself and buy insurance. After all, the state did its job by giving life, after that it is every child for himself.

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edo1962 says... April 11, 2014 at 5:02 p.m.

Amen for the Children
Fight the good fight

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Packman says... April 11, 2014 at 5:06 p.m.

@all you baby killing libs - Dam straight. How asinine it is to do what we can to protect the lives of unborn children. What kind of society would we be if we stooped so low as to protect a child? Kill away, libs, kill away. Your morality that favors the almighty dollar over the life of an unborn child is far superior to any pro-life politician. Pat yourselves on the back, you baby killing libs. You do yourselves proud.

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NOTAGAIN says... April 11, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.

Knew this was coming. You idiots are going to fight and lose the state $$ and make the state look foolish. This is 2014 not 1814.

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23cal says... April 11, 2014 at 5:28 p.m.

And the usual screamers for governmental fiscal responsibility are the ones screaming to whiz away tax dollars on a foredoomed decision that was decided by the SCOTUS half a century ago. Was mine the only irony meter that just broke?

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