Federal judge returns abortion payment case to state court

Federal judge returns abortion payment case to state court

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge says a state court must consider the appeal of three health centers in Arkansas that were found to have violated a law prohibiting clinics from collecting payment for abortion-related services during a 48-hour waiting period.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled Jan. 22 that the Arkansas State Board of Health's billing restrictions levied on the clinics are illegal. The attorney general's office subsequently sent the case to federal court.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that attorneys for the clinics then asked the presiding U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Williams in late February to transfer the case back to Fox's court, contending the attorney general's office was engaging in inappropriate "forum-shopping."

Wilson issued an order Wednesday saying that without a federal claim to decide, he lacks jurisdiction.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com