Arkansas Senate approves bill banning abortion at 18 weeks

The Senate approved the House-backed measure by 28-6

The Arkansas Senate on Monday approved a measure banning most abortions 18 weeks into a pregnancy, moving the state closer toward enacting one of the strictest prohibitions in the country.

The Senate approved the House-backed measure by 28-6. It was amended last week to add exemptions for rape and incest. The proposal faces one last vote in the House before heading to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk. A spokesman says Hutchinson supports the measure.

Arkansas already bans most abortions 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. The proposal could be the country’s strictest abortion ban if enacted, though bills banning abortions earlier are advancing in several other state legislatures.

“This is a significant bill because it does push the envelope further in the protection of unborn children,” Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, who co-sponsored the measure, said after the vote

READ MORE: Mississippi considers strict abortion ban

The measure is among several abortion restrictions working their way through the majority-Republican Legislature.

Hutchinson last month signed into law a bill that would ban most abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure nationwide.

Other restrictions include a measure the Senate approved last month requiring doctors to give women undergoing drug-induced abortions written notice that the procedure can be halted after the first of the two pills are taken — a claim that medical groups say isn’t backed up by science.

Other states have enacted measures that ban abortion earlier than Arkansas’ proposed 18-week ban, but those restrictions have been blocked by courts.

Arkansas lawmakers in 2013 approved a measure banning abortions at 12 weeks, but that prohibition was later struck down by federal courts. The state’s 20-week ban was also enacted in 2013 and has not been challenged in court, though similar prohibitions in two other states have been struck down. A similar 18-week ban is being considered in Utah.

READ MORE: B.C. woman’s anti-abortion beliefs a roadblock for summer jobs grant

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which has challenged other abortion restrictions in the state, said it was prepared to challenge the 18-week ban if it becomes law.

“It’s ultimately about driving legal abortion from the state and making women once again — as it was before Roe v Wade — subject themselves to unsafe and dangerous efforts to end their pregnancy,” attorney Bettina Brownstein said.

Three Democrats joined 25 Republicans to vote for the ban, with the chamber’s other six Democrats voting against the bill.

Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Saanich councillors slow to respond for feedback on council procedures

Among calls for procedural changes, staff still waiting to hear from six councillors

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

VicPD arrest reportedly armed man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

The man was found near Centennial Square on Tuesday afternoon

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Sarah McLachlan performs and donors raise $555,000 for inclusive outdoor activities

Power To Be reached their fundraising goal at their Nature Gala on July 12

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read