The Arkansas Board of Health voted to reinsert the wording “death of the unborn child” into the state’s abortion regulations on Thursday in a life-affirming move.
“Death of the unborn child” was the original phrasing in a series of 2015 Arkansas laws, until the state board attempted to strike the term, instead using the phrase “termination of pregnancy,” according to the Washington Times. This change did not pass, as pro-life Gov. Asa Hutchinson rejected the “termination” language and would not sign the regulations.
The Daily Caller reported on the controversy:
The board voted 13-7 to approve the rewritten regulations Thursday, which are part of the implementation of several abortion laws passed in 2015, and part of a 2013 law still standing after a federal appeals court struck down part of the law banning abortions after 11 weeks.
The Republican-led legislature passed a slew of abortion laws in 2015, including: a measure barring doctors from remotely prescribing abortion pills, a measure requiring a 48-hour waiting period between an in-person meeting with the woman and the abortion procedure, and a measure cutting off state funds to Planned Parenthood.
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Some board members objected to the “death of the unborn child” wording in some of those laws, leading to the decision to replace the language in regulations implementing the law in a January 12-6 vote. Many still object to the language, but voted to reinstate it Thursday, because of Hutchinson’s rejection.
“I don’t like the language more than anybody else,” Jim Lambert, the board’s president said, according to Arkansas Online. But after the vote he said, “it’s just going to keep coming back to us if we don’t do something.”
Although “death of the unborn child” is only one phrase, including it in Arkansas law is a victory for the pro-life movement. Terminology makes a significant difference in influencing lawmakers and the general public, and this phrase emphasizes the humanity of the unborn baby.