Arkansas grew to become the newest state to think about a copycat model of Texas’ draconian six-week abortion ban on Tuesday, when state Sen. Jason Rapert (R) filed Senate Bill 13 throughout a particular legislative session. Rapert’s invoice went a step additional than the Lone Star State’s S.B. 8: The proposed Arkansas laws goals to ban abortion at any stage of being pregnant.
The particular legislative session was largely devoted to discussing tax cuts, however Rapert, a vocal anti-abortion advocate, stated in October that he was planning to introduce laws just like Texas’ in the course of the quick legislative window.
Similar to Texas’ ban, S.B. 13 would deputize personal residents to implement the regulation by providing a $10,000 bounty to anybody who efficiently sues somebody aiding or abetting an individual looking for an abortion. The laws prohibits abortion from “fertilization until live birth” and solely permits exceptions if the lifetime of the pregnant particular person is in danger. It’s a modification of the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which was handed into regulation in 2013 and included a ban on abortion at 12 weeks ― probably the most restrictive abortion regulation within the nation on the time ― earlier than it was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Rapert didn’t instantly reply to HuffPost’s request for remark.
Fellow anti-abortion state Rep. Mary Bentley (R) is the opposite major sponsor of the invoice. Nearly 30 different Republicans co-sponsored the act, reaching the two-thirds threshold obligatory for the invoice to be thought of within the particular session.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), a staunch anti-abortion lawmaker, stated forward of the particular session that any additional abortion restrictions ought to wait till a call is handed down within the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court case, which the excessive court docket heard final week and facilities on a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi.
But Rapert disagreed with Hutchinson, telling a native NPR affiliate that ready on a Supreme Court determination would imply that abortions would proceed within the state. Rapert added an emergency clause within the invoice’s textual content alleging that due to Texas’ abortion ban folks from the state are touring to Arkansas to obtain care. The inflow of Texans “is burdening the healthcare system” in Arkansas, the invoice claims, inflicting a rise in abortions within the state.
“This act is immediately necessary to protect the lives of unborn children and the health and safety of pregnant women in this state,” the invoice states.
Florida and Ohio have additionally launched copycat Texas legal guidelines since September. Reproductive justice advocates in Florida advised HuffPost in November that they’re assured the copycat invoice is not going to acquire traction. Ohio is a unique story. Similar to Arkansas, the Ohio invoice goals to ban abortion at any level in being pregnant and consists of the clause that deputizes personal residents.
Just over a month in the past, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the controversial Texas regulation, particularly debating the enforcement mechanism of financially incentivizing personal residents to behave as bounty hunters. Although lots of the Supreme Court justices appeared open to permitting authorized challenges to Texas’ abortion ban, a call has but to be handed down. About two-thirds of Americans say the Texas regulation needs to be struck down by the Supreme Court, based on a latest ballot.
Although it’s solely been in place for a bit over three months, Texas’ excessive abortion restriction has had deeply detrimental results on folks looking for abortions within the Southern state. Many are leaving the state to get abortions whereas different much less privileged individuals are being compelled to present beginning. Abortion clinics in bordering states like Oklahoma and New Mexico are overwhelmed with Texas sufferers, leaving clinic workers extraordinarily overworked as they attempt to accommodate the inflow of recent sufferers.
The identical will doubtless occur in Arkansas if Rapert’s copycat invoice efficiently makes its manner by means of the state legislature.
“The overwhelming majority of Arkansans would lose access to care,” Emily Wales, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, advised HuffPost in October. “The reality of what this means for the region is very, very real and present. It would only increase that crisis to Arkansans who would then be forced to travel, if they can afford to, to states even farther out ― potentially overwhelming the neighboring states that are trying to support Texans.”
Arkansas is already one of the anti-abortion states within the nation. The state handed 20 abortion restrictions in the latest legislative session alone. Just this yr, Rapert helped to cross a near-total abortion ban in Arkansas that was finally blocked by a federal choose. The state additionally handed a set off regulation in 2019 that may instantly ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Currently, there are solely two abortion clinics in the whole state of Arkansas, and 77% of ladies within the state dwell in counties with no abortion clinic.