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One year of near-total abortion ban in Arkansas



Little Rock, Arkansas – The landmark Roe v. Wade ruling was reversed by the Supreme Court in the United States almost exactly one year ago.

This ruling handed abortion rights to the states a year ago.

In 2019, Arkansas lawmakers approved a trigger law that outlaws almost all abortions, with the exception of those performed to save the mother’s life. After the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, the statute went into effect last year.

The argument over abortion rights appears just as heated to Arkansans on both sides of the issue today.

“Here in Arkansas, our legislature has made it very clear that we are a pro-life state,” Executive Director of Family Council, Jerry Cox said.

Arkansas has been ranked as the most pro-life state by Americans United for Life for a number of years running, including this year.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Finance Director Christina Mullinax referred to the year 2013 as a time when the state’s situation appeared to be different. She was representing Planned Parenthood at the state legislature at the time as a lobbyist.

“I was standing in the rotunda when we found out that Governor Beebe had in fact vetoed the 20-week ban,” Mullinax said, “I just got really emotional, and I was like, ‘thank you.’”

The 2019 trigger law was passed with a new governor in office seven years later, and it is already in effect as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse it.

“My next step was going to be work for the Democratic Party of Arkansas to help elect more Democrats,” Mullinax said. “Period. The end. It is only Democrats who continue to fight for bodily autonomy. It is only democrats that stand up for reproductive justice.”

While Democrats continue to hold a minority position in the state legislature, this effort is uphill.

“It is women’s lives that we are talking about,” Mullinax said. “It is women’s lives that are at stake, and it is only the Democrats fighting for women’s lives.”

Cox asserted that he and other pro-life Arkansans give moms top priority.

“It behooves all of us who are pro-life to step into that space now and say, ‘Okay, we have made abortion mostly illegal in Arkansas, now we have to step up and help women with an unplanned pregnancy,’” Cox said.

Arkansas lawmakers have allocated $1 million to pregnancy resource centers that provide care for women experiencing unintended pregnancies after the abortion ban went into force.

Cox pointed out that more might be done to assist Arkansas women who are dealing with unintended pregnancies. He expressed confidence that more will be done as the state continues to adjust to the prohibition and is looking to other organizations, churches, and lawmakers to continue stepping up to the plate.

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