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Groups ask judge to block Arkansas’ near-total abortion ban

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Abortion rights supporters are asking a federal judge to prevent Arkansas’ near-total ban on the procedure from taking effect while they challenge its constitutionality

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Abortion rights supporters asked a federal judge on Monday to prevent Arkansas’ near-total ban on the procedure from taking effect while the groups challenge its constitutionality.

“Absent an order from this Court, (the ban) will inflict on plaintiffs’ patients significant and irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law,” the filing Monday said.

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Amanda Priest, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said the groups’ motion “should not come as a surprise to anyone.”

“Attorney General Rutledge will be reviewing the latest action and will proceed,” she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month agreed to take up a case on whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb, a showdown that could dramatically alter nearly 50 years of rulings on the procedure.

That case, which focuses on a Mississippi law banning abortion 15 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, probably will be argued in the fall, with a decision likely in the spring of 2022.

In the filing, the groups called the outright ban “simply the latest and most blatant effort in Arkansas’ long-running campaign to eliminate legal abortion in the state.”

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