A bill to ban abortions in Arkansas passed the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee in a unanimous vote on February 10 and will now head to the Senate floor.
SB 6, the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, has the purpose of “abolish[ing] abortion in Arkansas and protect the lives of unborn children; to protect all human life….” The bill would ban abortion in Arkansas except in cases in which there is a risk to the mother’s health — though killing a preborn human being for medical reasons is never truly necessary. Sen. Jason Rapert (R), the bill’s sponsor, hopes that the bill will lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout the United States.
“With nearly 62 million little innocent baby girls and little baby boys killed through abortions in our nation since 1973, it is past time for our nation to abolish abortion,” he said. “It’s time for the United States Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustices in the crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by the decisions in Roe v. Wade.”
James Bopp, general counsel for National Right to Life, expressed his own personal opinion that passing the ban on abortion may have the opposite effect and that smaller, incremental abortion restrictions might prove a better way to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“In fact, trying to force an overruling of Roe without adequate incremental preparation risks actually pushing justices away from openness to overruling Roe,” he wrote, noting that NRTL has not taken a position on the Arkansas abortion ban bill.
Jerry Cox, president of Family Council, said in a statement that he views this bill as “an opportunity for Arkansas to be a real leader in the effort to end abortion in America.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) has not taken a stance on the bill but has signed other abortion restrictions since taking office in 2015. Two years ago, Arkansas passed a law that will ban abortion if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade. This year, the state is one of 10 in which abortion bans have been proposed, according to ABC News.
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