As states like New York, Vermont, and others are looking to enshrine abortion “rights” in state constitutions, Arkansas joined a growing number of pro-life states seeking to do to the opposite, as Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a law on Tuesday that would ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
SB149, known as The Human Life Protection Act, would ban almost all abortion except for “a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury.” (However, abortion is actually never medically necessary.) This type of law, known colloquially as a “trigger law,” is immune to legal challenge since it has no immediate effect. Currently, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have passed such laws, while similar laws are under consideration in Kentucky and Tennessee. Nine other states would return to their pre-Roe anti-abortion laws.
Arkansas Senate OKs banning abortion if Roe overturned-Abortion is a crime against humanity, it is time to #AbolishAbortion in the US. Arkansas takes a stand. #MoralOutcry #AppealToHeaven @ARGOP @ARSenateGOP @ARHouseCaucus #arpx https://t.co/48HvZ26UpA
— Sen. Jason Rapert (@jasonrapert) February 8, 2019
Abortionists who violate the law would commit a felony punishable by up to $100,000 or up to 10 years in prison. The law could not be used to prosecute any woman seeking an abortion. It would not apply to contraceptives “administered before the time when a pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.”
The act reads, in part, “It is time for the United States Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustice and the crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by their decisions in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.” The text points to the effects of previous bad Supreme Court decisions that were subsequently reversed, including “denying personhood to a class of human beings, African-Americans” and upholding the “separate but equal” doctrine. It also acknowledges the scientific advances since Roe v. Wade: “New scientific advances have demonstrated since 1973 that life begins at the moment of conception and the child in a woman’s womb is a human being.”
The text of the law concludes with an forceful exhortation:
The State of Arkansas urgently pleads with the United States Supreme Court to do the right thing, as they did in one of their greatest cases, Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned a fifty-eight-year-old precedent of the United States, and reverse, cancel, overturn, and annul Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Previously, Arkansas enacted a law banning dismemberment abortions. Last year, the Supreme Court refused to hear a Planned Parenthood challenge to an Arkansas law regulating abortions via abortion pill. Currently, the state legislature has a bill in committee that would require reporting of any complication resulting from an abortion procedure. Arkansas has one abortion facility in the state.
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