Arkansas legislature sends bill to ban nearly all abortions to governor’s desk
LITTLE ROCK, March 4, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Arkansas legislature has given final approval to a bill that would completely ban abortions except to save a mother’s life, though it remains to be seen whether Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson will sign it into law.
The state House voted 75-18 to pass the bill Wednesday, the Associated Press reports, a month after its passage in the state Senate. The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the bill “plainly unconstitutional” and warned that “we will be seeing the state of Arkansas in court again” if it’s signed into law.
Broad abortion bans, which conflict with the Supreme Court’s “fetal viability” threshold, are generally not enacted with the expectation that they will take effect in the near term. Instead, they are enacted in hopes of provoking a legal battle that would hopefully reach the U.S. Supreme Court and instigate a review of Roe v. Wade, thereby potentially overturning decades of pro-abortion legal precedent and freeing the states to set their own abortion laws.
“It’s time for [Roe] to be overturned in the Supreme Court,” declared Republican state Rep. Mary Bentley, one of the bill’s sponsors.
Such a case would present the biggest test yet of former President Donald Trump’s three appointees to the Supreme Court, and whether they will help comprise the majority needed to finally overturn Roe. But it’s currently unclear if Hutchinson will give it that chance.
Hutchinson has signed various pro-life measures into law in the past, including bans on late-term and Down syndrome abortion and a trigger law that would ban most abortions once Roe is overturned. But his comments about this latest ban have been noncommittal.
“It’s pro-life legislation and I support pro-life legislation,” Hutchinson has said, while promising he would make a final decision in the days to come. He has reportedly expressed reservations about the lack of a rape or incest exception, but even if he doesn’t give the measure his signature, it will still become law five days after he receives it as long as he declines to veto.