Planned Parenthood has been canceling abortion appointments for women in Arkansas this week, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a state law restricting the procedure.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively let Arkansas’ law restricting medication abortions — in which women are given pills that cause a process similar to a miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy — go back into effect, making Arkansas the only state to restrict use of the abortion pills.
“The law that we were trying to get blocked went into effect immediately, and the immediate results were we had to turn away from the clinic people who were scheduled to take the pill,” Dr. Stephanie Ho, a physician at Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Fayetteville, Arkansas, told NBC News on Wednesday.
Attorneys for the three abortion clinics in the state — Planned Parenthood runs two, in Fayetteville and Little Rock, and Family Planning Services, also in Little Rock — asked a federal district court judge on Wednesday to block the law again. But in the meantime, women in Arkansas do not have access to the abortion pills.
Ho didn’t know how many appointments had been canceled, but she said the clinics were still trying on Wednesday to get in touch with women who had already scheduled appointments.
“It’s incredibly disheartening to call a patient and say you qualified for this last week but your government says that’s a decision you no longer get to make,” Ho said.