Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Signs Law Banning Virtually All Abortions Within the State

The attack on the legacy of Roe v. Wade continues. On Tuesday, March 9, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law that bans nearly all forms of abortions within the state.

Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press has reported that the Republican governor “had expressed reservations about the bill, which only allows the procedure to save the life of the mother and does not provide exceptions for those impregnated in an act of rape or incest.”

Even with those reservations, he went ahead and signed it, saying he ultimately agreed to support it because of the “overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions.”

According to DeMillo, Arkansas is one of at least 14 states where legislators have proposed outright abortion bans this year.

Supporters of the measure hope it will force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the landmark Roe v. Wade and possibly overturn it while opponents have vowed to block the measure in Arkansas with hopes of preventing it from taking effect later this year.

In a statement, the sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, said “We must abolish abortion in this nation just as we abolished slavery in the 19th century — all lives matter.”

In contrast, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas called the ban “cruel and unconstitutional.”

“Governor Hutchinson: we’ll see you in court,” ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson said.

“This is politics at its very worst,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “At a time when people need economic relief and basic safety precautions, dismantling abortion access is cruel, dangerous, and blatantly unjust.”

“The legislation won’t take effect until 90 days after the majority-Republican Legislature adjourns this year’s session,” DeMillo reported. “That means it can’t be enforced until this summer at the earliest. Abortion rights supporters said they plan to challenge the ban in court before then.”

Even before this new bill was passed, Arkansas already had some of the strictest abortion measures in the country, including a 2019 ban — also signed by Hutchinson — on abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, which is currently undergoing legal challenges.

Other anti-abortion restrictions still being considered by legislators in the state include one particularly heartless measure that would require a woman having an abortion to be shown an ultrasound of her unborn child before the procedure is completed.

 

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