Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block an Arkansas law which bars pill-induced abortions, effectively denying an appeal by two Planned Parenthood clinics who argued the state would be left with only one abortion provider.
The rejection frees up the 2015 measure to shortly take full effect, though the clinics may file argument over the matter again at a lower court level.
The ruling came in a one-line order, without dissent, suggesting the court’s more liberal justices intentionally decided to hold back at any objections.
Planned Parenthood further argued unsuccessfully against current law, which mandates that clinics that perform medication abortions have a contractual relationship with a doctor who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Attorneys arguing on behalf of Planned Parenthood claimed no obstetrician in the state will agree to the required contract.
The Planned Parenthood clinics in question, located in Little Rock and Fayetteville, currently offer only medication-induced abortions, which can be performed until the ninth week of pregnancy. The state’s only other clinic, also located in Little Rock, performs surgical abortions as well and advocates for the law argued that the clinic could continue to offer that service, regardless of the outcome.
The ruling is a blow to abortion rights advocates, who abortion-rights advocates, who won a similar Supreme Court fight in 2016 over a Texas law that threatened to shut down operations in three-quarter of the state’s clinics.
Despite arguments from attorneys representing Planned Parenthood that the Arkansas case “presents virtually identical factual and legal issues” as the Texas case, the court ultimately ruled in favor of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge who urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal, saying that “there is no right to choose medication abortion.”