Arkansas House OKs Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Gov. Mike Beebe Will Sign It
by Steven Ertelt
February 12, 2009
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — The Arkansas state House approved legislation today that would ban partial-birth abortions. The vote comes one day after a contentious committee hearing where abortion advocates cursed, attacked legislators and accused pro-life groups of not wanting to reduce abortions.
Rep. Dawn Creekmore, a Democrat, is the sponsor of the pro-life bill, which underwent a wording change at the last minute before the committee hearing.
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.
The committee approved the bill and sent it to the full House, which voted 84-6 on Thursday to support.
The bill has a life of the mother exception but, following the national law, includes no exception for the health of the mother since the gruesome abortion procedure is never necessary to protect a mother’s health.
In fact, a partial-birth abortion, like any other abortion, could have serious medical and mental health ramifications for women.
The bill now heads to the Senate and the Associated Press indicates that Gov. Mike Beebe has said he will sign the bill if the Senate approves it.
Martha Adcock, attorney for the Family Council, a statewide pro-life group, helped Creekmore write the bill.
She told the House committee 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 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper. "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.
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