Supreme Court rejects challenge to controversial Arkansas abortion law

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U.S. Supreme Court (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to a controversial Arkansas abortion law blocking medication-induced abortions.

The law, passed in 2015, says that any physician who “gives, sells, dispenses, administers, or otherwise provides or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug” shall have to have a contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The order, issued without comment, clears the way for the law to go into effect in mid-July if no other legal action is taken. Planned Parenthood is expected to make another challenge to the law in US district court.

“The Arkansas restriction, which was enacted supposedly to protect women’s health, is medically unnecessary,” lawyers for Planned Parenthood argued in court papers. They say it is unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on a patient’s right to choose abortion.

Medication abortion — available only early in a pregnancy — involves the combination of two pills called mifepristone and misoprostol.

Lawyers for Arkansas say the law is a “commonsense requirement” that “merely requires medication abortion providers to have a contractual relationship (to ensure follow-up treatment if needed) with a physician that has admitting privileges.

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