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Case Name Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Rutledge PB-AR-0007
Docket / Court 4:19-cv-00449 ( E.D. Ark. )
Additional Docket(s) 4:15-cv-00784-KGB  [ 15-784 ]  Eastern District of AR (U.S.)
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is an ongoing lawsuit regarding Arkansas state laws that limit abortions, which was amended to include abortion restrictions put in place by an executive order banning all elective procedures by Arkansas's governor on April 4, 2020, due to COVID-19. The judge initially ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is an ongoing lawsuit regarding Arkansas state laws that limit abortions, which was amended to include abortion restrictions put in place by an executive order banning all elective procedures by Arkansas's governor on April 4, 2020, due to COVID-19. The judge initially granted the temporary restraining order, which overturned the bans on abortion for a two-week period, however, on appeal the Eighth Circuit overturned the decision and halted subsequent emergency relief.



Two consolidated federal lawsuits were prompted by Arkansas state laws that limited circumstances under which a woman could seek an abortion. The plaintiffs in both cases, abortion-providing facilities in Arkansas and the doctors that worked at them, claimed that Arkansas already regulated abortion to make it safe and that these laws unnecessarily restricted access. Specifically, they said, the 18-week ban prevented abortion before viability, the Reason Ban was unconstitutionally vague, and the OBGYN requirement needlessly restricted the pool of available abortion providers without providing any scientific benefit to women.

The first case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on December 15, 2018, by Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma (PPAEO) and Little Rock Family Planning Services (LRFPS), two abortion-providing facilities, and doctors that worked at the clinics. This suit contested Arkansas laws enacted in 2015 that required abortion providers to have a signed contract with admitting privileges to a hospital and to comply with requirements listed on the final printed label of an abortion drug.

Then, on June 16, 2019, the same group of clinics and doctors filed an additional suit contesting new laws. These laws, enacted on April 24, 2019, restricted circumstances under which a woman could request an abortion after 18 weeks gestation, forbade doctors from aborting a fetus if the doctor "has knowledge" that the woman was seeking an abortion solely because the fetus had Down Syndrome (the "Reason Ban"), and barred anyone other than a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist (OBGYN) from performing an abortion. The plaintiffs sued Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and private counsel, sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and judgments that various new Arkansas laws violated the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution. The plaintiffs claimed that new laws in the Arkansas unconstitutionally limited access to abortion in that state.

The court consolidated the two cases in a July 5, 2019 order (2019 WL 2913505); Judge Kristine Baker presided over the consolidated matter.

Judge Baker issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the plaintiffs on July 23, 2019 (398 F.Supp.3d 330) and granted preliminary injunctive relief in favor of the plaintiffs on August 6, 2019 (397 F.Supp.3d 1213). The state immediately appealed; that appeal has been briefed in the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, but no decision has yet been rendered.

After Arkansas's Governor Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order on April 4, 2020 banning all elective abortions during the COVID-19 crisis, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include the new bans. Judge Baker issued a temporary restraining order overturning the bans for two weeks between April 14 and April 28, 2020 (2020 WL 1862830).

The defendants sought appellate review of the COVID-19 decision, asking the Eighth Circuit to block the restraining order and halt subsequent emergency relief. The appeals panel of Judges James Loken, Bobby Shepherd, and Ralph Erickson agreed to that request on April 22, 2020 (956 F.3d 1018), holding that abortions were elective, non-necessary medical procedures that should be halted in a time of medical crisis when personal protective equipment is scarce. The underlying case remains in the district court; plaintiffs have filed motions with the District Court seeking another temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctive relief on their amended complaint.

The case is ongoing.

Ellen Aldin - 06/20/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Law-enforcement
General
Abortion
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas State Medical Board
Prosecuting Attorney of Pulaski County
Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County
Plaintiff Description Several for-profit and non-profit firms in Arkansas that offer medical and surgical abortions, and two physicians who work there.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
None
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2019 - 2019
Filed 06/26/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Little Rock Family Planning Services, et. al v. Rutledge, et. al
https://www.aclu.org/
Date: Jun. 29, 2019
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:19-cv-00449 (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
PB-AR-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 83] (398 F.Supp.3d 330) (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/23/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 119] (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/06/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal [ECF# 120]
PB-AR-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/06/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 134 (& 134-1 to 134-18), 135]
PB-AR-0007-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 141] (2020 WL 1862830) (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0007-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Supplemental Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 142]
PB-AR-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 154] (2020 WL 2079224) (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0007-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Untitled (956 F.3d 1018)
PB-AR-0007-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [Ct. of App. ECF# 156]
PB-AR-0007-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 164 (& 164-1, 164-2), 165]
PB-AR-0007-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 173 (& 173-1 to 173-7), 174]
PB-AR-0007-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Baker, Kristine Gerhard (E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0002 | PB-AR-0007-0003 | PB-AR-0007-0005 | PB-AR-0007-0007 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Erickson, Ralph R. (D.N.D., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0008 | PB-AR-0007-0009
Loken, James B. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0008 | PB-AR-0007-0009
Shepherd, Bobby E. (W.D. Ark., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0008 | PB-AR-0007-0009
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brownstein, Bettina E. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Burke, Christopher P (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Burrows, Meagan (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Camp, Susan Talcott (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Godesky, Leah (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Harlow, Ruth E. (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Jackson, Rebecca R (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Ratakonda, Maithreyi (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Robertson, Ashley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Sandman, Jennifer (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-9000
Scavone, Kelly M (New York) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Simeone, Taylor (California) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Turner, Kendall (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0001 | PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Ware, Brooke-Augusta (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Zagayer, Maya (California) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0006 | PB-AR-0007-0010 | PB-AR-0007-0011 | PB-AR-0007-0012 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benafield, Julia C (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-9000
Bronni, Nicholas Jacob (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0004 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Cantrell, Michael (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0004 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Jacobs, Dylan L (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0004 | PB-AR-0007-9000
Merritt, Jennifer L (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-9000
Wagner, Vincent Moore (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0007-0004 | PB-AR-0007-9000

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