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Restrictions on Low-Income Women's Access to Abortion

Arkansas prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the provider obtains prior authorization and the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman's life, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Ark. Medicaid Physician Provider Manual, Physician/Independent Lab/CRNA/Radiation Therapy Center, Program Coverage, § 251.220 (Rev. Aug. 1, 2004), at;  Division of Medical Servs., Certification Statement for Abortion, DMS -2698 (Rev. Aug. 2007) at

An invalid and enjoined provision of the Arkansas Constitution provides that no public funds may be used to pay for an abortion unless necessary to preserve the woman's life.  Ark. Const. amend. 68, § 1.

A court held that this provision conflicts with federal law prohibiting participating states from excluding abortion from the Medicaid program in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest, and has affirmed a lower court's injunction prohibiting its enforcement to the extent that it conflicts with federal law.  Little Rock Family Planning Servs., P.A. v. Dalton, 60 F.3d 497 (8th Cir. 1995), rev'd in part, 516 U.S. 474 (1996).

The Arkansas Supreme Court also concluded that this constitutional provision is unenforceable insofar as it conflicts with federal law.  Hodges v. Huckabee, 995 S.W.2d 341 (Ark. 1999).

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