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Arkansas

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Arkansas imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which place medically unnecessary and costly requirements on doctors and can decrease the availability of abortion care for women.  Arkansas has such regulations, including:

Arkansas requires any facility which provides abortion care, including medication abortion, to 10 or more women per month to obtain a state "abortion facility" license.  Ark. Code Ann. § 20-9-302(a) (Enacted 1983; Last Amended 2011); Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities § 3.  

An "abortion facility" must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme that includes a variety of administrative, physical-plant, record-keeping, personnel, and patient-care requirements.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities §§ 1-12. The physical-plant requirements include such things as a required number of rooms with specific room dimensions, which are unrelated to medical necessity.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities §§ 12 (D)(1), (E)(13-17).

The state has extensive warrantless access to abortion facilities.  "Any authorized representative of the Arkansas Department of Health shall have the right to enter upon or into the premises of any Abortion Facility at any time in order to make whatever inspection it deems necessary" to ensure compliance with regulations.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities § 4(I).  The regulations offer no protections for patient privacy or confidentiality.

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which require doctors to obtain medically unnecessary additional licenses, needlessly convert their practices to mini-hospitals at great expense, or provide the procedure only in hospitals, an impossibility in many parts of the country.

Arkansas requires that any procedure after the 20th week of pregnancy be provided in a licensed hospital.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities, § 3.  Surgical-abortion providers must be located within 30 minutes of a hospital.  No exception is made for rural areas. Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities § 4(C).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Arkansas prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state may provide an abortion.  Ark. Code Ann. § 5-61-101 (Enacted 1983; Last Amended 1999).


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