Arkansas Committee Passes Partial-Birth Abortion Ban After Heated Debate
by Steven Ertelt
February 11, 2009
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — An Arkansas state legislative committee passed a bill to ban partial-birth abortions after a heated debate that saw abortion advocates curse, attack legislators and accuse pro-life groups of not wanting to reduce abortions. The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Dawn Creekmore, a Democrat, is the sponsor of the pro-life bill, which she changed the wording of at the last minute.
She told members of the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee that she wants the state to ban partial-birth abortions because she is concerned a pro-abortion Congress may overturn the federal ban.
Creekmore told the panel her bill is similar to the national law except that it authorizes the state medical board to take action against those who violate it and that violations result in a six-year prison term instead of two years on the national level.
Martha Adcock, attorney for the Family Council, a statewide pro-life group, helped Creekmore write the bill.
She told the panel, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, that the state health department reported 4,844 abortions in Arkansas in 2007 but said there was no information about whether any were partial-birth abortions.
During the debate, which the panel limited to five minutes on each side, Bonnie Robertson, community affairs coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, accused pro-life groups of not wanting to reduce abortions.
"It’s an unnecessary bill," Robertson said, according to the paper. "I challenge Arkansas Right to Life and Family Council to come with something that actually prevents unwanted pregnancies."
She also cursed at the legislators claiming they wanted a quick vote "because of its freakin’ title."
Dickson also complained that a couple of members of the committee left the room when Holly Dickson, attorney for the pro-abortion Arkansas ACLU chapter testified and called their actions "abhorrent."
Carolyn Izard, who formerly ran a Little Rock-based abortion business, also complained when the committee told her there were only 20 seconds left for her side in the debate.
The panel approved the bill and now it goes to the full state House for a debate and vote.
The newspaper indicated Gov. Mike Beebe has no position on the bill yet because of the last-minute changes to it.
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