News Abortion

Arkansas Heartbeat Ban Passes Senate Committee

Robin Marty

A combination of bills would leave effectively no options for women in the state.

Which state will be the first to pass an actual heartbeat ban and get it signed into law (and then blocked by the courts, obviously)? Arkansas is now currently in the lead, with a ban to forbid abortion after an embryonic heartbeat can be detected, now making it out of the Senate Public Health, Labor and Welfare committee.

Lawyers are already preparing for a fight. “If this passes, you might as well write a check to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood because we will feel the necessity to go to court to protect the rights of women,” Bettina Brownstein, an attorney for the ACLU of Arkansas, told the committee during testimony against the bill, according to the Associated Press.

Many senators co-sponsored the bill, and it is expected to easily pass the Senate. A Republican House majority this session also virtually guarantees final passage. Sen. Jason Rapert, the bill’s sponsor, said he feels the law would be “complimentary” to a proposed 20-week ban the House is considering, which would allow no exceptions, according to AP.

Should both bills pass and become law, a woman in Arkansas would only be able to access abortion for at most a mere two weeks after missing a period, and up to 20 weeks only if she has been raped. There would otherwise be no options in that state at all.

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Arkansas has three clinics in the state that provide abortions, and only one that provides surgical abortions.

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