Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas’ near-total abortion ban should be reconsidered if Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas’ near-total abortion ban should be “revisited” to provide exceptions for rape or incest cases if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the state’s Republican governor said Sunday.

“Although this is still life in the womb, the life of the unborn child, the conception took place under criminal circumstances, either incest or rape. And so, these are two exceptions that I have recognized, I think, are very appropriate,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN’s Dana. Bash on “State of the Union” when asked why a young girl pregnant by a family member should be forced to carry that child to term.

“And what will happen over time, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will become very real circumstances. I think the debate and the discussion will be – will continue and it could very well be revisited,” did he declare. , later adding, “I think these exceptions are going to be important…overall to save lives because the public understands these exceptions, their importance. So I think that will be revisited.”

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Hutchinson’s comments come as the abortion access debate intensified following the leak earlier this month of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion authored by Justice conservative Samuel Alito which showed that the High Court was about to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. A number of Republican-led states have pushed for tough abortion measures this year in anticipation of Roe’s potential overthrow, including Oklahoma, where lawmakers last week sent their GOP governor a draft a law that would ban abortions from the “fertilization” stage and allow private citizens to sue abortion providers who “knowingly” perform or induce an abortion “on a pregnant woman.”

Signed in March 2021 by Hutchinson, Arkansas’ abortion ban would go into effect if Roe is overturned.

The law would prohibit providers from performing abortions “except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency” and makes no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. Those who break the law could face fines of up to $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

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The governor was candid about the law’s purpose of overhauling abortion rights. He told CNN last year: “I signed him because it’s a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.”

The law was temporarily blocked last year by a federal judge after the American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups sued the law. ‘State.

Republican Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored the ban, denounced rape and incest last year, but stuck to the lack of exceptions in the ban. law for both crimes, stating, “How could we look at a human baby and say they are not worth living just because their birth was the result of a violent act.”

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Arkansas already has several abortion restrictions in effect. Abortion seekers must receive in-person warning from their providers 72 hours in advance, including information about prenatal and neonatal care and child support services, to access the procedure. Abortions after 20 weeks are already prohibited in the state, except in cases of rape, incest, or danger of death or other serious physical danger to the pregnant woman.

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