Arkansas Poised to Enact Most Abortion Restrictions in the U.S. So Far this Year

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48-hour waiting period is latest bill signed by Governor Hutchinson in string of legislative attacks on reproductive health care access in a region devastated by extreme abortion restrictions
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(PRESS RELEASE) Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a measure into law late last night that will force women to wait 48 hours and make two separate trips to her health provider before accessing safe and legal abortion services—putting the state on track to pass the highest number of restrictions on abortion in the U.S. in 2015 thus far.

HB 1578 also forces doctors to provide biased and medically unproven information about “reversing” the effects of a medication abortion —a provision which is very similar to a recently passed law in Arizona.  This comes on the heels of the governor signing HB 1394, a measure that requires physicians to treat women seeking medication abortion according to a decade-old method that is less safe, less effective, and more expensive than the evidence-based methods most doctors currently use.

Said Nancy Northup, president &, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Arkansas politicians are practically tripping over themselves to pass more laws than any other state to harm women.

“Arkansas now sits in the center of a region devastated by sham laws designed to shutter clinics and make it harder for women to get the full range of safe, legal reproductive health care they need.

“Women need ready access to reproductive health services, not interference in their personal lives and private decisions by politicians who presume to know better. It’s time for these politicians to check their priorities and start spending their time on policies that actually help Arkansans.”

This is the sixth abortion restriction signed into law by Governor Hutchinson this year.  In addition to these six restrictions-- three of which severely limit the ability of women to access medication abortion, an extremely safe method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest stages—the Governor also signed a bill on Monday which strips funding from family planning providers like Planned Parenthood.

Altogether, Arkansas politicians have introduced 14 measures which would severely restrict access to reproductive health care in the state, including a Texas-style clinic shutdown law and additional restrictions on young women’s access to health care.

From clinic shutdown laws—which have closed clinics in Texas and threaten to shutter abortion providers in LouisianaOklahoma, Mississippi, and Alabama—to outright bans on abortion, women in the South face innumerable hurdles when trying to access their constitutional right to safe and legal abortion services.  Arkansas women face many of these challenges, with only three clinics providing safe and legal abortion services in the entire state. Rather than focusing on increasing the number of policies that are known to support women and children, politicians in Arkansas have spent their time enacting abortion restrictions that do nothing to improve women’s health and safety.