Arkansas House Defeats Bill to License Abortion Centers

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2011   |   12:57PM   |   Little Rock, AR

A state House committee in Arkansas has killed legislation that would subject abortion facilities in the state to stricter standards to ensure the health and safety of women is protected.

Republican legislator Jason Rapert of Bigelow sponsored the bill that the House Public Health Committee defeated today on a 10-9 vote. he argued that abortions present a host of medical problems and complications for women and, therefore, abortion centers doing surgical abortions should follow the same state regulations as any legitimate surgical center.

Members of the panel said the state health department can put the requirements in place administratively, according to an AP report.

The committee vote follows a unanimous vote in the state House for legislation to require any medical center giving out the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug to women to be licensed by the state health department.

The drug is responsible for the deaths of at least 13 women worldwide and potentially as many as 30 or more, and, according to 2006 FDA figures, has injured at least 1,100 women — requiring everything from hospitalization to blood transfusions.

The Public Health Committee approved that bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Butch Wilkins saying that any medical office that distributes more than 10 abortion pills annually has to be licensed by the state. Health Department attorney Robert Brech told lawmakers the department would write out the rules since they are not specified in the legislation.

The House approved the bill with no debate or discussion beforehand. Meanwhile, the state Senate approved two bills accomplishing the same purposes,

Today’s vote was the second time the House Public Health committee defeated a pro-life bill as, in February, it killed legislation that would have removed the abortion funding form the state health insurance exchange Arkansas would create under the Obamacare health care reform law.

The state Senate had already approved the legislation, on a 27-8 vote, but the panel tabled the bill after Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, a Democrat, attached an amendment to the bill on an 11-8 vote that would allow abortion funding in cases of rape and incest. Because state law prohibits state taxpayer funding of abortions in those cases, allowing it only to save the life of the mother, the bill temporarily became unconstitutional and lawmakers used that as an excuse to defeat the measure.

Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia signed into law a bill for strict regulation of abortion centers in his state.