Arkansans awaited an eleventh-hour ruling on Tuesday, which could change the course of abortions across the state.
Federal judge, Kristine Baker, is expected to make a decision after several groups challenged three abortion-related laws that passed during the 2019 legislative session. All three of the laws included tighter restriction on abortions.
The three laws include: banning abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, prohibiting abortions if the decision to abort is a result of a Down syndrome diagnosis of the fetus and requiring a board-certified or board-eligible OB/GYN doctor to be the only ones performing abortion surgery.
Planned Parenthood, Little Rock Family Planning Services and the ACLU of Arkansas challenged the laws and presented their case to Judge Baker on Monday in a hearing that lasted all day.
“It’s crucial,” Bettina Brownstein, an attorney for the ACLU of Arkansas says.
“I mean, it’s going to determine the fate of, at least for now, the fate of abortion access in Arkansas.”
Meanwhile, the Family Council, a social conservative lobbyist organization hopes the laws stay put.
“These laws were passed in the legislature by people who were chosen to represent the people of Arkansas,” Charisse Dean of Family Council says.
“This is one of those situations where I believe Arkansas will be a trailblazer and will be a leader.”
The three laws will take effect Wednesday if Baker has not issued a ruling by then that changes their course.
There is no deadline for Baker to hand down a ruling.