Abortion Bills Debated in Arkansas House Committee

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LITTLE ROCK, AR — The issue of abortion took center stage Tuesday at the State Capitol.
    
Supporters said two bills being considered were about women’s health, but opponents argued they’re an attack on abortion rights.

“This bill is bad for physicians,” said Dr. Janet Cathy, a Little Rock OBGYN. “It’s bad for medicine.”

Opponents urged lawmakers against new regulations of the abortion-inducing drug regimen known as RU-486.

But opponents said the bill would improve women’s healthcare. “I think that we should say the most important thing to us is the health of these women,” said Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren.

The bill would require women to get an ultrasound, regulate dosage, require a follow up visit and force patients to stay at the provider’s office longer when the drug abortions are performed.

“[The regulations] would be a burden on Planned Parenthood, but they are for the safety of women,” said Marianne Linane, a retired nurse bioethicist who spoke in favor of HB1394.

Linana told lawmakers patients had become ill and even died after being given RU-486.

“It’s unfortunate people have died, but there are also people who have died in evidence-based medicine in other practices,” said Fredrick Love, D-Little Rock.

Those voting against the bill say the aim is more than women’s health.

“This is a women’s health issue, but those of us that are opposing the bill primarily are people who are opposed to abortion,” Linana said.   

The bill regarding abortion drugs easily passed the House Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor.
    
Another bill (HB1421) forcing providers to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is being performed fell two votes short. It may be reconsidered before the end of the session.

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