Late yesterday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking Arkansas' incredibly restrictive abortion law from taking effect.
The law, which the Legislature enacted over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto in March, makes abortions illegal after only 12 weeks of pregnancy. It's scheduled to take effect in August.Wright also indicated that she thinks the law is unconstitutional, as it bans abortions before the medically accepted standard for viability.
At a hearing Friday in Little Rock, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright granted a temporary injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights, which argued that doctors who provide abortions would suffer "irreparable harm."
The suit was filed last month on behalf of Tom Tvedten, medical director of Little Rock Family Planning Services, and Louis J. Edwards, a gynecologist at the abortion clinic. They argued that the law as written forces doctors to choose between denying "critical care" to patients and risking the loss of their licenses.
The law's supporters frankly admitted their real goal was to get Roe v. Wade overturned.
Josh Mesker, a spokesman for the nonprofit Arkansas Family Council, told NBC News the ruling was "disappointing, but it's not unexpected."In so doing, Mesker inadvertently buttressed Beebe's argument for vetoing the law--it would shoulder Arkansans with a massive bill for defending a bad law based on bad science.
Mesker said the ultimate aim is to get the law before the U.S. Supreme Court, where "we expect to prevail" in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized most abortions across the U.S.
"It's not outside the realm of possibility for the current Supreme Court to readdress Roe v. Wade in a way that leans toward our position," he said.