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Lawmaker from Arkansas introduces a bill that would allow for exceptions to the abortion ban in cases where the mother’s health is in danger

Little Rock, Arkansas – This week, a lawmaker from Arkansas submitted a bill to permit exceptions to the right to an abortion when the mother’s health is in danger. Abortions are currently almost entirely prohibited by law.

The bill’s proponent was state representative Denise Garner (D). She stated that this would be a useful change to Arkansas policy.

“While some people seek abortions because they don’t want to be a parent, others choose to terminate because continuing a pregnancy could put their life in danger,” Garner said. “Termination may also be chosen because a fetus has lethal congenital abnormalities. With Roe overturned and abortion now determined by a patchwork of state laws, even people who want to continue their pregnancies have less control over their health.”

This will be the second bill pertaining to abortion to be submitted so far this session. An earlier attempt to legalize abortions in instances of uncommon prenatal defects incompatible with life was made by State Representative Nicole Clowney (D). In committee, that legislation was defeated.

“This has overwhelming popular support,” Clowney said. “As long as our extreme abortion ban is in effect, women will suffer.”

According to Clowney, it will be difficult to persuade Republican senators to approve any exceptions for abortion, but it is crucial to keep pushing for change until it materializes.

“We’re giving it our best shot now,” Clowney said. “Time will tell if our colleagues agree.”

Robert Ballinger serves as the National Association of Christian Legislators’ director of law and policy. The current law restricting abortions in almost all circumstances was developed with the assistance of the former state senator. Garner’s bill, according to him, is not likely to get out of committee.

“It would make better news if this were a real possibility,” Ballinger said.

Further attempts to make exceptions, according to Ballinger, are likely to be attempted, but they will be ineffective as long as the state maintains its supermajority Republican makeup.

“I think it’s politics and [Garner] playing to her base,” Ballinger said. “That’s what you see happening, and there’s really no chance of this getting passed.”

Political scientist Dr. Janine Parry oversees the annual Arkansas Poll at the University of Arkansas. The survey gathers information from Arkansans regarding their opinions on various political issues that are current at the time.

According to Parry, the findings indicate that Arkansans generally support exceptions.

“We got majority support,” Parry said.

The policy, according to Parry, does not align with the statistics, and she predicted that it won’t change for at least a few years. She claimed that both the significance of primaries and the state’s supermajority red status are factors in this.

“We really can’t expect anything but more of the same,” Parry said. “It is a modern reality.”

 

Nathan Kim

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