'Women are going to be hurt': Planned Parenthood protests AR abortion restrictions

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - This week, the United States Supreme Court cleared the way for a controversial Arkansas law that restricts access to medication-induced abortions.

Arkansas passed the law three years ago, and pro-choice advocates have been fighting it almost from the start, calling it unconstitutional and dangerous.

Now, they worry it will force two of the state's three abortion clinics to close.

Ashley Coffield, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis, said she expects that percentage to increase because of a law restricting abortions in Arkansas.

"Between 5 to 10 percent of our clients already come from Arkansas," Coffield said.

The law requires doctors prescribing abortion-inducing pills to enter into a contract with a doctor who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Supporters call it a "commonsense requirement," ensuring women get appropriate care if they experience complications.

But Planned Parenthood sued, calling it an undue burden.

"It's really the triumph of politicians over sound and good medical care and women are going to be hurt as a result," Coffield said.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the case, allowing a lower court ruling to stand.

Arkansas' statewide elected leaders, including Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, celebrated the decision.

In a statement, she said, "We are a pro-life state and always will be as long as I am Attorney General."

Critics said it effectively makes legal abortions impossible and will force two of the states' three abortion clinics to close.

"Shamefully Arkansas has become the first state that's banned medication abortion," Coffield said.

Coffield said Arkansans who can't find a clinic in their state should look east.

"We encourage any woman from Arkansas who is seeking to practice her constitutional right to have a legal abortion to come to Memphis for good medical care," Coffield said.

The law will go into effect any day now, as soon as a federal court gives the OK.

Planned Parenthood is seeking a last-minute restraining order to try to block the law from going into effect.

No word on when the judge will issue a ruling on that.

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