LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Practically all abortions are now prohibited in the state of Arkansas, with the exception of a medical emergency where the mother’s life is in danger.
This nearly three years after the act initiating the ban – Arkansas 108 – was signed into law.
The legislation was approved by Arkansas lawmakers in 2019 but would only go into effect should Roe v. Wade be overturned. It takes a certification by the Attorney General to be put into place, something that was done Friday afternoon by current AG Leslie Rutledge, who said it was the honor of her life to be the one to enact the ban and got emotional while certifying the ruling.
Arkansas lawmakers who debated for years over the issue of abortion weighed in on the ruling, with some like Republican Senator Missy Irvin celebrating and thanking the legislature for their years of work to enact the ban.
“I could not be more proud of the policy that our state has enacted,” Sen. Irvin said moments after the ruling was announced, “because it’s been a very good policy. All of these 40 plus pro-life pieces of [Arkansas] legislation has been very thoughtful.”
Others like democratic Representative Tippi Mccullough mourned the overturning, saying she was worried for women across the nation. She added this throws into light the court’s rulings dealing with state’s rights.
“It’s a little bit inconsistent to come out with this and say well, every state can choose what they want to do,” McCullough said. “But we just had the New York gun ruling which kind of took New York’s rights away in deciding that.”
Other lawmakers had a similar split reaction, but many can agree that regardless of the ruling more has to be done in terms of resources for mothers and pregnant women.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said the certification letters will be sent to all abortion providers warning them about the ban and he will direct the Arkansas Department of Health to complete inspections to make sure clinics comply.
The penalty for performing an abortion or trying to is up to $100,000 in fines or up to ten years behind bars or both, the penalty does not extend to the woman seeking the abortion.