Arkansas' New Anti-Abortion Law Has Specific Purpose

To take down Roe v. Wade
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2021 12:39 AM CST
Arkansas' New Anti-Abortion Law Is a Near-Total Ban
In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters in Little Rock, Ark.   (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo, File)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday signed into law legislation banning nearly all abortions in the state, a sweeping measure that supporters hope will force the US Supreme Court to revisit its landmark Roe v. Wade decision but opponents vow to block before it takes effect later this year. 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. Arkansas is one of at least 14 states where legislators have proposed outright abortion bans this year, the AP reports. Hutchinson said he was signing the bill because of its “overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions." The legislation won't take effect until 90 days after the majority-Republican Legislature adjourns this year's session, and abortion rights supporters plan to challenge it in court before then.

The bans were pushed by Republicans who want to force the US Supreme Court to revisit its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. Conservatives believe the court is more open to striking down the decision following former President Trump's three appointments to the court. “We must abolish abortion in this nation just as we abolished slavery in the 19th century—all lives matter," Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, the bill's sponsor said in a statement. Hutchinson has signed several major abortion restrictions into law since taking office in 2015, but he had voiced concerns that this bill directly challenges Roe and about the lack of rape and incest exceptions. He repeated those concerns as he announced his decision. “(The ban) is in contradiction of binding precedents of the US Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law."

(More Arkansas stories.)

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