An Arkansas bill that would connect pregnant mothers to resources for themselves and their babies passed the state Senate on Thursday by an overwhelming majority.
The senators voted 28-5 to pass the Every Mom Matters Act (House Bill 1195), which establishes a state hotline that women must call before going through with an abortion. The Arkansas House passed the bill Monday.
“So many pregnant women seeking abortion do so only because they feel they have no support or help to meet their needs,” Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, told NRL News Today. “EMMA will provide information about available resources whatever their needs if they choose to accept it and choose life.”
State Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, said his bill will help ensure that every woman seeking an abortion in Arkansas knows that there are resources to help her and her baby, The Democrat Gazette reports. Dotson said he hopes the hotline will reduce abortions and save lives.
Here’s more from the report:
He said the bill would connect a pregnant woman with someone who would explain and offer to directly connect her to support services. The legislation also aims to support follow-up programming through a child’s second birthday. …
“Data shows that if women are fully informed one third will decide to keep their babies,” and when the bill is fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2023, ” that would be roughly 1,000 babies saved annually, plus ongoing support for the children’s mothers,” he said.
The state Department of Health would set up the hotline and provide information about medical, welfare and private assistance programs for pregnant and parenting mothers as well as adoption information.
Dotson estimated the hotline will cost about $1.5 million, but state health officials put the cost at about $4 million, according to the report.
Abortion activists with the Arkansas Abortion Support Network opposed the bill, arguing that women already have the information they need to make a decision about an abortion.
Reacting to their opposition, state Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Ozark, said he was amazed that “a five-minute phone call for a young lady to be able to get information creates so much fear.”
“And I think it is because sometimes, [for] the industry, success means more abortions,” Ballinger said.
According to the Arkansas Health Department, there were 2,963 abortions in the state in 2019.