Arkansas lawmakers moved forward with a bill this week that would protect unborn babies’ lives if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The 1973 case crippled states’ ability to protect unborn babies, but many hope that the new U.S. Supreme Court justices will overturn the infamous abortion ruling.
On Wednesday, the state Senate Public Health Committee approved the bill to ban abortions in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the AP reports. The bill would allow exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk. It also would allow abortionists to be charged with a felony for aborting an unborn baby.
The Arkansas Human Life Protection Act (Senate Bill 149) now moves to the full state Senate for consideration.
“The United States Supreme Court committed a grave injustice and a crime against humanity in the Dred Scott decision by denying personhood to a class of human beings, African-Americans,” the bill states. “It is time for the United States Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustices and crimes against humanity which is being perpetuated by their decisions in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.”
The bill pointed to scientific evidence that life begins at conception, as well as to the 3,249 unborn babies who were aborted in Arkansas in 2017, according to the state Department of Health.
State Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored the bill, said he wants Arkansas to be prepared for the day when Roe is overturned.
“I’ve actually had conversations in the last couple of days with some of the legal scholars that have worked on the issue for 40 years, and they actually believe that states need to prepare because they think in the next two years, Roe v. Wade could be overturned,” he told KARK News in January. “Arkansas would protect the lives of unborn children.”
The Arkansas Times reports Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists are trying to drum up opposition to the bill.
The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks, a fact confirmed by the Washington Post fact checker.
More than 60 million unborn babies have been aborted since 1973 in America.
Pro-life advocates hope the new conservative U.S. Supreme Court will reverse the pro-abortion ruling and allow states to restrict or outlaw the killing of the unborn. But even if it does, many states still will allow abortions.
About a dozen states have laws in place that immediately would protect the unborn when Roe is overturned. Legal scholars give different estimates, though. In 2017, the abortion advocacy group NARAL predicted that 13 states immediately would ban abortions if the high court overturns Roe. Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights put their estimate at 22 states.