Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a near-total abortion ban on Tuesday, setting up a potential challenge to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade precedent after Donald Trump gave conservatives a 6-3 majority on the court, The Associated Press reports.
The new law only allows abortions to save the life of the mother. It does not include any exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
Hutchinson said he signed the bill because of its “overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions."
“We must abolish abortion in this nation just as we abolished slavery in the 19th century – all lives matter,” Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.
Bill sets up SCOTUS challenge:
Hutchinson acknowledged that the bill violated the precedent set by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. It has been the goal of many conservatives to chip away at abortion rights after Trump replaced late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a staunch abortion foe.
“(The ban) 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," Hutchinson said in a statement. “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.”
“Very small” chance of Roe reversal:
Hutchinson shared a letter with lawmakers from an attorney at the anti-abortion National Right to Life, who argued that the bill leading to a repeal of Roe were “very small and remote.”
The ACLU called the ban “cruel and unusual” and vowed to sue.
“Governor Hutchinson: we’ll see you in court," ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson said.
“This is politics at its very worst," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “At a time when people need economic relief and basic safety precautions, dismantling abortion access is cruel, dangerous, and blatantly unjust."