Arkansas Senators approved a pro-life bill Thursday to protect unborn babies from abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The Human Life Protection Act (Senate Bill 149) passed in a 29-6 vote with bipartisan support, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. It now moves to the state House for consideration.
The infamous abortion case Roe v. Wade crippled states’ ability to protect unborn babies, but some hope that the new U.S. Supreme Court justices will overturn the ruling. A number of mid-western and southern states are considering bills to prohibit abortions in one way or another, with the hope that the high court will reverse its pro-abortion stance.
“It’s time for the United States to redress and correct what many believe is a grave injustice and a crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by the decisions of Roe v. Wade,” said state Sen. Jason Rapert, the lead sponsor of the bill.
If the bill passes, abortions would be prohibited except to save the mother’s life. The legislation also would allow abortionists to be charged with a felony for aborting an unborn baby.
The bill compares abortion to similar human rights injustices that the U.S. Supreme Court once upheld and then later condemned, such as slavery.
“The United States Supreme Court committed a grave injustice and a crime against humanity in the Dred Scott decision by denying personhood to a class of human beings, African-Americans,” the bill states. “It is time for the United States Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustices and crimes against humanity which is being perpetuated by their decisions in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.”
The bill points to scientific evidence that life begins at conception, as well as to the 3,249 unborn babies who were aborted in Arkansas in 2017, according to the state Department of Health.
All the votes against the bill were from Democrat lawmakers. They are state Sens. Will Bond of Little Rock, Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock, Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff, Keith Ingram of West Memphis and Greg Leding of Fayetteville, according to the local news.
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Before the bill passed, many lawmakers appealed for the lives of unborn babies by telling personal stories about adoption or unplanned pregnancies.
State Sen. Missy Irvin, a pro-life Republican, shared how she chose life for her child as a young, unwed mother, the Democrat Gazette reports.
“I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant and I wasn’t married. I come from a Catholic family, a big Catholic family,” Irvin said. “I knew what the consequences of my actions would be, but I still made that choice. … I didn’t know how I was going to tell my family. I didn’t know how I was going to tell the man that I was dating. I was so scared.”
She said she and her husband got married a few days after choosing life for their baby, and they have been happily married for 26 years now.
“I have the most amazing beautiful daughter because of that choice,” she said.
The Arkansas Times reports Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists are trying to drum up opposition to the bill.
The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks, a fact confirmed by the Washington Post fact checker.
More than 60 million unborn babies have been aborted since 1973 in America.
Pro-life advocates hope the new U.S. Supreme Court justices will reverse the pro-abortion ruling and allow states to restrict or outlaw the killing of the unborn. But even if it does, many states still will allow abortions.
About a dozen states have laws in place that immediately would protect the unborn when Roe is overturned. Legal scholars give different estimates, though. In 2017, the abortion advocacy group NARAL predicted that 13 states immediately would ban abortions if the high court overturns Roe. Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights put their estimate at 22 states.
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Author: Micaiah Bilger