The state has already passed a law outlawing abortion if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, a so-called “trigger ban” that has also been adopted by several other states. Arkansas also already has a 20-week abortion ban, enacted in 2013, which has yet to be challenged in court.
Hutchinson’s office said in a statement that the law he just signed has the explicit goal of challenging Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.
“[The law] is in contradiction of binding precedents of the US supreme court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the supreme court overturning current case law,“ the statement read.
“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 US supreme court.”
Courts have struck down similar laws in other states in recent years. A similar measure in Alabama was struck down by a federal district court during October 2019.
A federal appeals court upheld certain Arkansas state abortion restrictions during August 2020. The Eighth Circuit court briefly allowed a 2017 state law to go into effect, which banned sex-selective abortions and the “dilation and evacuation” abortion method used in the second trimester.
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However, in January 2021, the same Eighth Circuit upheld or imposed injunctions on several pro-life laws in the state, including the sex-selective abortion law and the ban on “dilation and evacuation” abortions, by which an unborn baby is dismembered.
A law banning abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest, and medical emergency was blocked, as well as another that would have prohibited abortions based solely on a Down syndrome diagnosis for the baby.
Those regulations had been set to go into effect July 2019 before injunctions blocked them.