Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 6 banning all abortions in Arkansas except when the life or health of the mother is at risk. The bill did not include exceptions for rape and incest, something the governor had hoped would be in the bill.
In a statement released after signing SB6, Hutchinson said the intent of the legislation is to set the stage for overturning Roe v Wade.
“SB6 is a pro-life bill that prohibits abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency. It does not include exceptions for rape and incest,” Hutchinson said. “I will sign SB6 because of overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions. SB6 is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law. I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, a lead sponsor of the bill, released a statement saying, in part, that SB6 was drafted “to raise a moral outcry to the U.S. Supreme Court” and to “be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade…”
Rapert said he is “grateful beyond measure” that Hutchinson signed the bill into law.
“With this action, Arkansas stands strong for the sanctity of human life,” Rapert said. “If allowed to stand without a legal challenge many more little baby girls and boys will be saved in our state. If challenged by abortion groups that continue to support killing innocent babies, Arkansas will defend the law and take a moral stand for Life all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court…”
We’ll See You in Court
American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas President Holly Dickson released a statement telling the governor, “we’ll see you court.”
“Once again, Arkansas politicians have made it their business to dictate people’s personal medical decisions, violate their personal autonomy, and block them from care,” Dickson said. “This extreme abortion ban is cruel and unconstitutional and it will have accomplished nothing but cause stress for patients, while ignoring the pressing challenges Arkansans face. Abortion is legal in all 50 states, including Arkansas, and we’ll fight as long as it takes to keep it that way. Governor Hutchinson: we’ll see you in court.”
Included in the ACLU news release is a statement from, Lori Williams, director of the Little Rock Family Planning Services clinic. Williams said the clinic doors remain open.
“In Arkansas, we have continued to serve our patients under years of relentless attacks from state politicians,” Williams said. “This outright ban is just the latest and most outrageous effort to block our patients from accessing vital reproductive health care. 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. Our patients will continue to receive the compassionate care they need.”