Arkansas Legislature Passes Near-Total Ban on Abortion
For Immediate Release: March 3, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2021
Contact: Jess Kelsey, [email protected]
Senate Bill 6, which would outlaw abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, now heads to the Governor’s desk
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas House passed Senate Bill 6 (SB 6) this afternoon, a bill that would prevent a person from obtaining an abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before many people even know they are pregnant.
SB 6 also criminalizes physicians and would prevent Arkansans from accessing a safe procedure that one in four American women in their lifetime will need. As a leading provider of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care in Arkansas, including abortion, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes opposes SB 6.
“The Arkansas Legislature has made banning abortion their top priority, ignoring the reality of Arkansans suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic and from a lack of comprehensive health care in the state,” said Gloria Pedro, regional manager of public policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes. “Decisions about pregnancy are deeply personal and should be made between a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor — without government interference. Arkansas needs real leadership now, not politicians pushing their own agendas.”
Abortion bans disproportionately harm those that already have the least access to quality health care, including people with low-incomes, people of color, and those who live in rural communities.
In addition, abortion bans are inherently racist, and disproportionately harm people of color, specifically Black women. Time and time again, supporters of this bill have used racist rhetoric, linking essential and time-sensitive abortion care to the horrors of legalized slavery. This comparison has been refuted, debunked and argued against by Black women. Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes stands with Black women against this harmful narrative.
Six-week bans on abortion have been struck down each time they have been challenged. Courts in states like Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Iowa, Ohio and Tennessee have blocked those states’ bans, acknowledging that it is unconstitutional for a state to prohibit a person from obtaining an abortion before viability — regardless of any exceptions made in the law.
“Despite the fact that Arkansas has the fourth highest maternal mortality rate in the nation and has one of the highest recorded infant mortality rates, anti-abortion politicians are ramming through this flawed and dangerous legislation that also an absurd attempt to demand the Supreme Court reconsider Roe v. Wade,” Pedro said. “The legislature is separate from the courts to protect our freedoms and rights. Writing a bill that’s the equivalent of a demand letter to SCOTUS is not how the constitution works.”
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)4 nonprofit organization that advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We lobby state lawmakers, mobilize more than 120,000 grassroots supporters, and engage in issue education in order to protect and expand access to health care and comprehensive sex education in the communities we serve, and to promote Planned Parenthood’s mission.