Arkansas ‘Cherish Act’ (HB 1439)
This law was last updated on Sep 3, 2019
HB 1439 prohibits an abortion from being performed or induced after a fetus reaches 18 weeks gestational age, except in cases of medical emergency or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
The bill prohibits a person from performing or inducing an abortion without first determining the gestational age of the fetus according to “standard medical practices and techniques used in the medical community.”
If the probable gestational age of the fetus is determined to be greater than 18 weeks’ gestation—and absent any medical emergency—an abortion would be prohibited.
A person who performs an abortion after 18 weeks in violation of this provision would be guilty of a Class D felony. A physician who performs an abortion in violation would also have their medical license revoked.
If a physician performs or induces an abortion on a fetus after 18 weeks, they must file a report with the state within 15 days of the procedure. The report must include:
- The date of the abortion;
- The abortion method;
- The probable gestational age of the fetus;
- A statement declaring that the abortion was necessary due to a medical emergency;
- The specific medical indications supporting the abortion and medical emergency;
- The probable health consequences of the abortion; and
- The signature of the physician.
A physician who falsifies a report would be fined up to $2,000.
2/12/19 – Introduced; referred to House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.
2/19/19 – Returned by the committee—Do Pass.
2/25/19 – Passed the House by a 77-13 vote.
3/6/19 – Amended and approved by senate committee.
3/11/19 – Passed the Senate by a 28-6 vote.
3/13/19 – Concurred by the House.
3/15/19 – Signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R).
8/6/19 – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas Western Division granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect while the case proceeds.