Arkansas signs abortion ban into law, provoking legal showdown
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LITTLE ROCK, March 10, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law Tuesday making abortion illegal in Arkansas for any reason except to save a mother’s life, although lawsuits by the abortion lobby will prevent it from going into effect.
Hutchinson had previously expressed some hesitancy over the ban’s lack of an exception for abortions sought due to rape or incest, but CBS News reports he signed it anyway due to its “overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions.”
The new law “is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law,” the governor said. “I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
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.
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.
While it remains to be seen whether the issue will reach the Supreme Court, a legal battle is all but certain. The text of the law provides for it to take effect 90 days after the current session of the state legislature ends, by which time abortion defenders will have filed their legal challenge. The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said last week that “we will be seeing the state of Arkansas in court again” if the bill was signed into law.