Last week, the Arkansas Legislature passed a bill expand the state’s former 48-hour waiting period between abortion counseling and an abortion procedure to 72 hours. The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 29-5, and Governor Asa Hutchinson has said he plans to sign the bill. The bill, says the Associated Press, is considered “one of the strictest” in the country. Just six other states have a 72-hour waiting period: Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah.
In March, Arkansas also passed an 18-week abortion ban — which was also, at the time, called “the strictest in the country.” But most Americans would prefer to restrict abortion to the first trimester, or first three months (12 weeks).
However, several states have also passed “heartbeat laws” — laws that restrict abortion once a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks. The preborn baby’s heart begins to beat between 16 to 21 days after fertilization occurs.
It is important that women receive this information and have time to gather information on their options before they decide whether to have an abortion. It is also important that women receive information on all the potential risks of abortion. Things like mandated ultrasounds with an option for women to view their ultrasounds have been shown to save lives. And abortion waiting periods have also been shown to save the lives of preborn children. In addition, abortion pill reversal has saved hundreds of lives even after women have taken the first pill of the medication abortion regimen.
The more information women have before an abortion, and the less pressured and rushed they feel in making their decision, the more it will benefit women and children. Testimonials indicate that many women have been pressured into abortions by loved ones and even by abortion facility workers. Measures like waiting periods help to put safeguards in place so that women do not fall prey to high pressure sales tactics or to the initial panic and fear of an unplanned pregnancy.
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