The Arkansas Senate passed legislation Thursday that would ban abortions in the state in the event the states are once again permitted to decide whether to prohibit the procedure.
“It’s time for the United States to redress and correct what many believe is a grave injustice and a crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by the decisions of Roe v. Wade,” said state Sen. Jason Rapert, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Rapert sponsored Senate Bill 149 — the Human Life Protection Act — which would prohibit abortions in Arkansas in the event Roe v. Wade is reversed or the U.S. Constitution is amended to permit states to ban the procedure.
State senators approved the bill, 29-6, with 26 Republicans and three Democrats voting in favor. The measure now heads to the state House.
“New scientific advances have demonstrated since 1973 that life begins at the moment of conception and the child in a woman’s womb is a human being,” the bill states. “Scientific evidence and personal testimonies document the massive harm that abortion causes to women.”
The legislation goes on to say that prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, “Arkansas had already enacted prohibitions on abortions.”
The state also passed the Heartbeat Protection Act in 2013 and additional pro-life legislation in 2015 and 2017 “that further shows the will of the Arkansas people to save the lives of unborn children,” the bill says and adds:
The State of Arkansas urgently pleads with the United States Supreme Court to do the right thing, as they did in one of their greatest cases, Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned a fifty-eight- year-old precedent of the United States, and reverse, cancel, overturn, and annul Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
(b) It is the intent of this subchapter to ensure that abortion in Arkansas is abolished and protect the lives of unborn children.
If the conditions of the bill come to pass, abortion would be abolished in Arkansas, except to save a woman’s life from a “physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury.”
The Associated Press reports that Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have already passed legislation that would put an abortion prohibition into action if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
According to the Gazette, following an intense debate in the state Senate, Rapert ended by observing that the late Norma McCorvey — who was known as “Jane Roe” in the landmark Supreme Court case — never actually had an abortion but placed her baby for adoption prior to the high court’s ruling. McCorvey later became a pro-life activist.
“Some people don’t know that Norma McCorvey never had an abortion. Ever,” Rapert said. “And here we are using her name and her story to continue a culture of death.”