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

PHOTOS: History brought to life at engine show in Chilliwack

Machine history fires up at Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site

GW Graham basketball star Geevon Janday joining Dalhousie University Tigers

The senior goes from Pacific to Atlantic coast, continuing his hoops career in the U-Sports ranks.

Delays en route for Highway 7 in Harrison Mills

Road resurfacing will cause month-long delays for drivers travelling through Harrison Mills

Chilliwack’s pediatric observation unit gets financial shot from trades workers

Unions and contractors donate more than $30,000 to Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

The luckiest man in Agassiz finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Trudeau touts economic record at Liberal fundraiser in Vancouver

The Prime Minister was in B.C. for much of this week

Metro Vancouver mayors ask public to lobby feds for annual $375M transit fund

Mayors renewing their call for transit funding as federal election looms

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

BC Ferries asks boaters to learn signals and be careful around vessels

BC Ferries responded to 15 marine emergencies in 2018

VIDEO: Suspected arson sends five to Abbotsford hospital with smoke inhalation

Man seen throwing flammable substance in van, lighting it on fire next to home

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Mother bear, three cubs relocated from Maple Ridge

Silver Valley residents calling for ‘no-kill’ zone.

VIDEO: TransLink to roll out battery-powered bus pilot this summer

Four buses will run a 2.5 year pilot along Marine Drive

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read