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The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis said Thursday that it won't consider Arkansas' appeal of an abortion-related injunction until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a pending case that involves related questions.

The pending case, out of Louisiana, is June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, which was decided by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It focuses on state laws requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The Supreme Court must decide if the laws violate the high court's binding precedent in a 2016 case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the court struck down a Texas law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals no more than 30 miles away, and requiring the clinic where the abortion is performed to meet minimum standards required for ambulatory surgical clinics.

The high court said neither provision of the Texas law conferred medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens they imposed on women seeking abortions, in violation of the U.S. Constitution as interpreted in a 1992 case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

In the Arkansas case, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued an injunction July 28, 2017, blocking state officials from enforcing four new laws that providers said were intended to all but eliminate access to abortion.

They included Act 45, a ban on the most commonly used procedure for late-term abortions, dilation and evacuation; Act 733, which prohibits doctors from performing an abortion when aware that a woman is seeking the procedure solely because of the child's sex; Act 1018, which requires doctors to preserve the fetal tissue when performing abortions on girls 16 or younger, instead of 14 or younger as the law previously stated; and Act 603, which requires fetal remains from surgical abortions to be disposed of in accordance with the Arkansas Final Disposition Rights Act of 2009. The 2009 law defined "fetal tissue" as "human tissue."

Metro on 03/20/2020

Print Headline: State must wait on U.S. high court in abortion case ruling's appeal


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