This week Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a near-total ban on all abortions in Arkansas, with the only exception being if the life of the pregnant person is in danger.
“This is politics at its very worst,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement. “At a time when people need economic relief and basic safety precautions, dismantling abortion access is cruel, dangerous, and blatantly unjust.”
The law won’t take effect until the Arkansas Legislature adjourns its session, meaning it won’t be enacted until this summer. Pro-choice advocates plan to challenge the ban in court before then.
The ACLU has called the ban “cruel and unconstitutional”.
“Governor Hutchinson: we’ll see you in court,” said ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson.
Governor Hutchinson expressed some reservations about the bill due to the lack of exceptions for abortion in cases of rape or incest and its direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, but acquiesced due to “overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions.”
Arkansas is one of 14 states that have introduced such legislation since the beginning of this year. Anti-abortion proponents hope the legislation will force the Supreme Court to revisit the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and overturn it.
“(The ban) 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,” said Hutchinson in a statement. “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.”