The Republican governor of Arkansas has signed a law banning nearly all abortions in the state, which supporters hope will be a catalyst for a U.S. Supreme Court review of the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the sweeping measure into law Tuesday, but opponents vowed to challenge the law in court before it takes effect later this year, The Associated Press reported.
The law allows the procedure only to save the life of the mother and does not provide exceptions for women impregnated by rape or incest.
Hutchinson previously expressed reservations, saying he signed the bill because of its 'overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions.'
Arkansas governor sign bill banning nearly all abortion services https://t.co/TUO9J9Gkju— The Independent (@Independent) March 10, 2021
Hutchinson has signed several major abortion restrictions into law since taking office in 2015, but he had voiced concerns this bill directly challenges the law established through the Roe v. Wade case and about the lack of rape and incest exceptions in the bill.
'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,' Hutchinson said.
The bans were promoted by Republicans seeking to force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
Jane Roe was a fictional name used in documents to protect the identity of a lawsuit plaintiff, who was later identified as Norma McCorvey.
BREAKING: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs a near-total abortion ban into law. Supporters hope the sweeping measure will force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its landmark Roe v. Wade decision. https://t.co/JU7CaKhWso— The Associated Press (@AP) March 9, 2021
Court documents said Roe sued Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, to challenge a state law outlawing abortion except with a doctor's permission to save a woman's life. Roe claimed the statute blocked the right to privacy that protected a woman's choice to have an abortion.
The justices delivered a 7-2 decision in Roe's favor, which has been at the heart of the American abortion debate ever since.
Conservatives believe the current Supreme Court could be open to striking down the decision following former President Donald Trump's three appointments to the court: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Arkansas is one of at least 14 states in which legislators have proposed outright abortion bans this year.
The Arkansas law is not scheduled to take effect until 90 days after the majority-Republican Legislature adjourns this year's session, which precludes enforcement of the legislation until this summer at the earliest.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.