Group gathers enough signatures to put pro-abortion amendment on Arkansas ballot

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Arkansans for Limited Government, a pro-abortion coalition in Arkansas, claims to have gathered enough signatures to place a pro-abortion constitutional amendment on the upcoming ballot in November — in a state where abortion is currently legal to save the life of the mother. The pro-abortion amendment would need to gather just over 50% of the vote to pass, and would set in place unrestricted abortion up to 18 weeks after fertilization (20 weeks gestation) in the state, or in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly, or “when abortion is needed to protect the pregnant woman’s life or physical health,” after 20 weeks, according to the group.

The full text of the amendment can be found here, including language clarifications and changes made by the state attorney general.

A vote to change Arkansas’ threshold to pass a ballot initiative or constitutional amendment to 60% of the vote failed in 2022. Then in 2023, legislation was put forth to change the signature requirements for ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments; a certain percentage of signatures from each of 15 counties used to be required, but Act 236, signed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, now requires a percentage of signatures from at least 50 counties. According to the Magnolia Reporter, “Groups must submit 90,704 signatures for constitutional amendments and 72,563 signatures for initiated acts gathered from at least 50 counties to the Secretary of State’s office to qualify for the November ballot.”

Arkansans for Limited Government says it has gathered more than 100,000 signatures from registered voters — more than what was required.

Abortions beyond 14 weeks gestation are most often done by a D&E procedure, which dismembers the preborn child while still alive in the womb:


NBC News reports:

The announcement means that Arkansas is now the final of the nine states where organizers seeking to enshrine abortion rights in state constitutions in November have formally submitted the required number of signatures to advance the process. (In another two, New York and Maryland, lawmakers control the amendment placement process).

According to For AR People — part of the Arkansans for Limited Government coalition — the process continues as follows (emphasis original):

First, we wait for the Secretary of State to complete the count. They will check signatures against voter records and verify that each signature represents a registered Arkansas voter. Any signatures that cannot be verified will be stricken from the count. The Secretary will have up to 30 days to complete this count. 

If at the end of that process we have still cleared the 50 county/90,704 signature mark, then that’s the end of the Secretary of State’s involvement! We will have qualified for the ballot. 

If at the end of that process we no longer have 50 counties or 90,704 signatures, that is not necessarily the end of the road. If we have 75% of the required signatures in all 50 counties, we will qualify for a 30 day cure period

What’s a cure period? It’s an extension! We will be able to contact folks whose signatures were stricken and collect new signatures. At the end of that period, we’ll again turn the signatures into the Secretary of State, and they’ll go through the verification process again. If we have the required signatures after that, we’re on the ballot! 

If the constitutional amendment is successful, preborn children up to 20 weeks gestation (midway through the second trimester of pregnancy) will no longer have any protection from abortion and they can be killed for any reason, and those beyond 20 weeks gestation can be killed for being conceived in rape or incest, or to protect a woman’s physical health, including “a life-endangering physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself and (2) any situation in which continuation of a pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function of a pregnant female….”

According to research, preborn children are likely to feel pain by the end of the first trimester. By 22 days after fertilization, the prenatal heart begins to beat, even before it has formed all four chambers. By six weeks after fertilization (8 weeks gestation), brain activity can be recorded. By 10 weeks after fertilization (12 weeks gestation), a preborn child can suck his or her thumb, swallow, and grasp an object. Between 14 and 18 weeks after fertilization (16-20 weeks gestation), preborn children have grown large and strong enough for their movements in utero to be felt by their mothers. The baby releases stress hormones in response to being poked between 18 and 20 weeks gestation. Visit the Endowment for Human Development for more information.

The pro-abortion Arkansas amendment explicitly redefines the government’s “compelling interest” to exclude anything related to the protection of the preborn child. That wording may even be broad enough to exclude informed consent measures such as waiting periods, ultrasounds, or information regarding prenatal development. The amendment’s revised language states, “provide that the government of the State of Arkansas, its officers, or its political subdivisions shall not prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion services within 18 weeks of fertilization, which equates to approximately 20 weeks since the first day of the pregnant female’s last menstrual period…” (emphasis added).

For 2023, the Arkansas Department of Health reported zero abortions.

According to Ballotpedia, six states currently are set to have pro-abortion ballot measures this November, with seven additional proposed. Those six states are Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New York, Nevada, and South Dakota.

Editor’s Note, 7/8/24: This post has been updated for clarification since its original publication.
Editor’s Note, 7/9/24: Information about ballot measures has been added to this article.

Editor’s Note, 7/11/24: This article originally contained a link to the originally submitted ballot measure from November 2023; this has been removed and replaced with a link to the revised ballot language contained in a letter from the Arkansas AG in January 2024. Some of the information contained in this article regarding “health” exceptions was based on the original, and not the revised, ballot language. That information has been removed and corrected. We regret the error.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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