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

New book from Nanaimo Historian details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

‘Mamma Mia!’ calling all Dancing Queens to Chemainus Theatre

‘Mamma Mia!’ promises summertime fun with ABBA music, fun and a romantic story

Sanseverino limbing mountains to understand mountains

Ladysmith Camera Club hosts Mountain Legacy Project shooter to talk Canada’s changing wilderness

Ladysmith’s Weeks destined to help visitors

New Chemainus Visitor Centre Manager brings impressive credentials to the job

Historic 75th AGM highlights successes of LDCU

Ladysmith District Credit Union celebrated 75 years of service at their annual general meeting.

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

‘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

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

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

Most Read