Arkansas Board of Health approves rule for abortion law
Jul. 20, 2017
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Board of Health has approved emergency regulations to implement a new state law dictating how fetal remains must be handled after an abortion.
The board decided Wednesday that abortion clinics won't be responsible for handling fetal tissue in medication abortions that happen outside of their clinics, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2ueKPcG ) reported.
The law passed by the Legislature this year will require clinics to ensure that fetal remains are handled in accordance to a 2009 state law. It's expected to go into effect in August.
"The way that law is written, it's not clear whether or not an abortion facility would be responsible for the fetal tissue that might be expelled away from the facility," Robert Brech, general counsel for the state Department of Health, told board members during a special meeting Wednesday.
Rose Mimms, executive director of the anti-abortion group Arkansas Right to Life, said she didn't have an issue with the board's regulation.
"The law was never intended to really oversee medication abortions," Mimms said.
The new law is being challenged in a federal lawsuit supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights. The lawsuit contends the law will limit medication abortions because it requires consent of third parties and prevents someone from privately disposing of fetal tissue after a miscarriage.
Attorneys for the state said the law doesn't restrict medication abortions or require the father be notified before the tissue disposal.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com