The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill late last week that would ban so-called partial birth abortions in an 84 to 6 vote after no debate. The legislation has an exception to save the life of the mother, but does not have a health exception, according to the Associated Press. Doctors could face felony charges under the proposed law for performing the procedure.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Representative Dawn Creekmore, says that the law would only affect abortions after the first trimester, according to the Baxter Bulletin, but Dr. William Harrison criticized the bill because it is too vague. He told 4029 TV that “any abortion, say after eight or nine weeks, potentially could be defined by this bill it’s written specifically to make abortions as difficult to provide as possible.”
The legislation is parallel to federal law that bans so-called partial birth abortions, a medical procedure that is not restricted to a particular stage of pregnancy. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 2007 to uphold the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act, which bans an abortion procedure that the Republican controlled Congress passed in 2003.