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Arkansas Abortion Laws and How They Compare Nationally

By    |   Friday, 02 October 2015 01:50 AM EDT

Arkansas has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, people on both sides of the issue agree.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 issued the Roe v. Wade decision giving women nationwide the right to an abortion while leaving lawmakers to decide how strictly they wanted to regulate the procedure. Arkansas legislators have since amended the state’s abortion laws in such a manner that the anti-abortion Americans United for Life, in a report released in January, listed Arkansas at No. 5 among among the nation’s most-protective states in terms of enacting anti-abortion legislation. Arkansas had been ranked at anywhere from third to fifth most-protective in each year from 2010 through 2014.

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Arkansas ranked as the nation's 13th worst state for reproductive rights in 2013, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. The Natural State was among 25 states that received a grade of F from NARAL for their laws regarding reproductive rights.

Here are five reasons Arkansas is considered among the states with the most-restrictive abortion laws.

1. Arkansas in March 2013 adopted "the nation's most restrictive abortion ban" after the Republican-dominated state House voted to override then-Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of it, according to USA Today. The law banned most abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat was detected. A federal judge in March 2014 declared that part of the law unconstitutional while reasoning that the fetus’ viability, not heartbeat, determines the legality of such procedures, the Los Angeles Times reported.

2. Arkansas requires abortion providers to check for the unborn child’s heartbeat before the abortion and inform the woman if a heartbeat is detected, Americans United for Life said. That requirement is among provisions of the law adopted in March 2013.

3. Arkansas maintains a policy, explained in its constitution, of seeking to “protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution,” according to Americans United for Life.

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4. Arkansas requires parental consent for a minor to have an abortion, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute.

5. Arkansas maintains a ban on partial-birth abortions, according to Guttmacher.

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Arkansas has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, people on both sides of the issue agree.
Arkansas, abortion laws
Friday, 02 October 2015 01:50 AM
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