Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a law Tuesday to ban the killing of unborn babies in abortions throughout the state.
Prior to signing the law, the Republican governor expressed hopes that it will prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, KNWA News 5 reports.
“I will sign SB6 because of overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “SB6 is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law. I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act (Senate Bill 6) passed the state legislature by a strong majority. If enacted, the bill would ban all abortions in the state. The only exceptions would be if the mother’s life or health are at risk. Abortionists who violate the ban would face up to 10 years in prison. Women would not be punished.
“Arkansas is the most pro-life state in the nation and never have our constituents or Arkansans ever voted for abortion in Arkansas,” said state Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, the lead sponsor of the bill in the House.
The law could protect nearly 3,000 unborn babies from abortions in Arkansas every year. However, the American Civil Liberties Union already has promised to file a legal challenge.
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“We’re ready to take Arkansas to court — again,” it responded on Twitter.
State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, the lead sponsor of the bill, said the legal challenge is part of the point, and he hopes it will prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. But some pro-life leaders expressed concerns about the possibility of a legal challenge backfiring, saying the courts could instead decide to solidify the so-called “right” to abort an unborn baby.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
Though the high court currently has a conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by a Republican president, has sided with the liberal justices on a number of occasions.
In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.