There's been a lot of discussion lately on this new abortion law: http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/2/3/14497638/arkansas-abortion-dilation-evacuation-ban-second-trimester

My understanding (as a layman) is as follows:

  • The law allows a husband to sue and/or block his wife from getting a (D&E) abortion

  • Doctors who perform D&E abortions will be committing felonies in the state

I have 2 main questions on this law:

  1. What would happen if a woman got a D&E abortion outside of the state? Could she still possibly be sued? Does she have to be a resident of Arkansas to be sued?

  2. According to the article, this law will probably be challenged in court. Is it in effect yet? If the law is struck down, how would that affect lawsuits on the basis of the law?


1 Answer 1


Your understanding of the bill is correct. Legislation takes effect 90 days after sine die adjournment unless there is an emergency or enactment clause. If a relevant provision of the law is struck down as unconstitutional, any suit dependent on the provision would be dismissed.

Residency is not relevant, what is relevant is being subject to Arkansas jurisdiction, meaning "being in Arkansas". A non-resident traveling to Arkansas could not have a forbidden procedure in Arkansas, and an Arkansas resident can have a procedure allowed elsewhere if they are elsewhere. A spouse would not be able to get an injunction if, for instance, the wife traveled to Washington state for the procedure, because Arkansas courts have no jurisdiction over Washington state. The law imposes a restriction on what physicians in Arkansas can do, and the woman receiving the abortion is not subject to liability.

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