Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a law Tuesday to protect unborn babies by banning all abortions in the state once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The Human Life Protection Act (Arkansas Senate Bill 149) is necessary because the infamous abortion case crippled states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion. Some hope that the new U.S. Supreme Court justices will overturn the ruling, but even if they do, abortions will remain legal in many states. The Arkansas law will make it one of a handful of states that would immediately protect unborn babies once the case is overturned.
The Hill reports Arkansas is the fifth state to pass such a law. The others are Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota. Kentucky and Tennessee also are considering bills that would do the same thing this winter.
“It’s time for the United States to redress and correct what many believe is a grave injustice and a crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by the decisions of Roe v. Wade,” said state Sen. Jason Rapert, the lead sponsor of the bill, previously.
The law will prohibit abortions except to save the mother’s life. It also will allow abortionists to be charged with a felony for aborting an unborn baby.
The state legislature made the bill a priority this year. It passed both houses within the first two weeks of February.
The bill compares abortion to similar human rights injustices that the U.S. Supreme Court once upheld and then later condemned, such as slavery.
“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.”
It also points 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.
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.
Legal scholars give different estimates about the number of states that would prohibit abortions once Roe is overturned. Several have laws similar to the one that Arkansas passed this month, while others still have pre-Roe abortion bans that would take effect again when the infamous ruling is overturned.
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.
More than 60 million unborn babies have been aborted since 1973 in America.