Arkansas Senate approves bill banning abortion at 18 weeks

The Senate approved the House-backed measure by 28-6

The Arkansas Senate on Monday approved a measure banning most abortions 18 weeks into a pregnancy, moving the state closer toward enacting one of the strictest prohibitions in the country.

The Senate approved the House-backed measure by 28-6. It was amended last week to add exemptions for rape and incest. The proposal faces one last vote in the House before heading to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk. A spokesman says Hutchinson supports the measure.

Arkansas already bans most abortions 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. The proposal could be the country’s strictest abortion ban if enacted, though bills banning abortions earlier are advancing in several other state legislatures.

“This is a significant bill because it does push the envelope further in the protection of unborn children,” Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, who co-sponsored the measure, said after the vote

READ MORE: Mississippi considers strict abortion ban

The measure is among several abortion restrictions working their way through the majority-Republican Legislature.

Hutchinson last month signed into law a bill that would ban most abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure nationwide.

Other restrictions include a measure the Senate approved last month requiring doctors to give women undergoing drug-induced abortions written notice that the procedure can be halted after the first of the two pills are taken — a claim that medical groups say isn’t backed up by science.

Other states have enacted measures that ban abortion earlier than Arkansas’ proposed 18-week ban, but those restrictions have been blocked by courts.

Arkansas lawmakers in 2013 approved a measure banning abortions at 12 weeks, but that prohibition was later struck down by federal courts. The state’s 20-week ban was also enacted in 2013 and has not been challenged in court, though similar prohibitions in two other states have been struck down. A similar 18-week ban is being considered in Utah.

READ MORE: B.C. woman’s anti-abortion beliefs a roadblock for summer jobs grant

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which has challenged other abortion restrictions in the state, said it was prepared to challenge the 18-week ban if it becomes law.

“It’s ultimately about driving legal abortion from the state and making women once again — as it was before Roe v Wade — subject themselves to unsafe and dangerous efforts to end their pregnancy,” attorney Bettina Brownstein said.

Three Democrats joined 25 Republicans to vote for the ban, with the chamber’s other six Democrats voting against the bill.

Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fundraising campaign for church shooting victim exceeds goal

A seperate campaign for the man killed in the April 14 shooting is nearing $25,000 raised.

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Most long-weekend rain has already fallen

A mix of sun and cloud is expected for the last two days of the the Victoria Day weekend.

Court decision prompts CSRD to throw flood mitigation back at province

Public safety minister maintains Newsome Creek concerns in hands of local government

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

The Old Guys reunite to play out spring

Salmon Arm Jazz Club hosts June 13 concert at Nexus

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Okanagan tattoo fundraiser draws tons of support

Lineup around the block in Vernon for start of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read