A bill that would ban so-called partial birth abortions in Arkansas passed in the state Senate yesterday in a 30 to 3 vote. The same bill passed last week in the Arkansas state House of Representatives in an 84 to 6 vote after no debate. According to the New York Times, Democratic Governor Mike Beebe plans to sign the bill.
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 was passed by the Republican controlled Congress in 2003 and bans the same abortion procedure.