Judge sets July 22 hearing on Arkansas abortion restrictions

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal judge will hold a hearing on a challenge to three new abortion restrictions in Arkansas two days before the laws are set to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Friday scheduled a July 22 hearing on the new laws, including one that bans the procedure 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. The laws are set to take effect on July 24 and are being challenged by the state’s abortion providers.

The providers say another one of the laws would likely force the state’s only surgical abortion clinic to close. Arkansas currently bans abortion 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.

Baker gave the state until July 18 to file a response to the providers’ lawsuit. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the restrictions into law earlier this year.

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