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Arkansas House votes to send near-total abortion ban to governor

by Rachel Herzog | March 3, 2021 at 3:13 p.m.
FILE - Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, speaks on the floor of the House in this file photo.

The Arkansas House voted Wednesday to send a near-total abortion ban to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The legislation prohibits all abortions except those performed to protect the life and health of the mother and does not include exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

"It is the will of the people of Arkansas to save the lives of unborn children and to help women in this state," said Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, who is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 6 in the House.

The vote was 76-19, mostly along party lines.

"Even if you're pro-life, this is a very extreme bill," Rep. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, who spoke against the bill, said. "I just ask you if you're going to vote for pro-life bills, let's make them reasonable.

State law currently allows abortions up until the 20th week of pregnancy.

Hutchinson said earlier in the day that he expected the bill to pass the House and had not made a decision on whether he would sign it.

Read Thursday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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