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Boom! Lawyered: Arkansas Created a Pandemic Catch-22 to Block Abortions

Imani Gandy & Jessica Mason Pieklo

On April 27, Arkansas officials issued a directive requiring anyone seeking elective surgery to obtain a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to an abortion. Can you guess which elective procedure those officials were primarily targeting? Yep, that’s right: procedural abortion.

Advocates almost immediately sued on behalf of three patients who needed an abortion, hadn’t been able to get a COVID-19 test, and were closing in on the deadline imposed by Arkansas’ 20-week abortion ban. According to the lawsuit, Little Rock Family Planning Services had contacted more than 15 testing locations but couldn’t find a single place that would test asymptomatic people. Now the courts have weighed in, and it’s a hot mess.

On this episode of Boom! Lawyered, Imani Gandy and Jessica Mason Pieklo explain everything happening in Arkansas and ask: Why can people go to the orthodontist without a test—but not the abortion provider?

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Transcript (PDF)