Gov. Hutchinson signs near-total abortion ban

For the past few months, a bill has been making its way through the Arkansas legislature and on Tuesday Governor Hutchinson signed it into law. It is a total ban on abortion unless the health or life of the mother is at stake, notably excluding provisions for rape and incest. Under it, performing an abortion or attempting to perform one is an unclassified felony, carrying potential fines and prison sentences.

The Governor has been clear about the intention of the law. It is part of an effort to challenge and potentially overturn the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in all 50 states, and many conservatives have been attempting to get the Supreme Court to reexamine and overturn that decision in the past few years.

Abortion-rights activists have voiced their intentions to challenge the law in court. Lori Williams, clinic director of Little Rock Family Planning Services, said “Our physicians, staff and our patients will not be intimidated by these attacks. Our doors remain open – and we will always fight to ensure that they stay that way”.

Hutchinson has stated that he regrets the lack of provision for rape and incest cases in the bill.