LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – After a leaked first draft document showed the U.S. Supreme Court planned to overturn Roe v. Wade, reactions were varied Tuesday in Arkansas, a state strictly against abortion access.
At 5 p.m., pro-choice advocates gathered on the state capitol steps to voice their displeasure with the draft.
“I hope that I never have to get an abortion, but if it so happens, then I’d want the option,” said Mira Cary, who attended the rally.
The rally underscored the frustration some are having with the Supreme Court and the Arkansas Legislature, which voted to pass a trigger law that would go into effect if Roe is overturned. If that happens, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) would certify it, and abortion would immediately be illegal in Arkansas.
“It will be the honor and privilege of my lifetime to do just that,” Rutledge said Tuesday.
Rutledge said there are several Arkansas laws waiting in the Eighth Circuit because of lawsuits, and the overturning of Roe would affect them. She called the 1973 ruling “wrong” and said she hopes justices follow through in making this first draft final.
Rutledge said whoever leaked the draft should face swift prosecution and accused the person/people of having a political agenda. The leaker and motive have not yet been identified, but justices said an investigation is underway.
“The person who leaked this, or the individuals who leaked this, is no different than those who wished to tear down our Capitol on January 6th,” Rutledge said. “This is an act of insurrection, ripping the seams, breaking that confidentiality.”
State Rep. Nicole Clowney (D) said when Roe is overturned, there will be a push to restore access to safe, legal abortions. There will also be a push to enact legislation that would fund other women’s healthcare initiatives.
“If women are not granted the right to an abortion in this state, we have to do everything we can to avoid unintended pregnancies,” Clowney said.
Arkansas would be among the first states to immediately ban abortion. Clowney and others noted the fight to restrict abortion access have been ongoing for decades. That is something agreed upon by most state leaders regardless of party affiliation.
“Arkansas is prepared for the overturning of Roe vs. Wade,” Rutledge said.