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Arkansas Attorney General rejects proposed abortion amendment title, language

by | Nov 30, 2023

By Arkansas Right to Life (ARTL) Communications 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Attorney General Tim Griffin has rejected the ballot title and language for a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would restore abortion access in Arkansas.

The “For AR People” group announced on Nov. 27 that it has formed a ballot question committee, Arkansans for Limited Government, to place an amendment on the Arkansas ballot to address reproductive freedom.

The group seeks to qualify a constitutional amendment proposal – the Arkansas Reproductive Healthcare Amendment – that would prevent the state from restricting access to abortion up to 18 weeks after conception or in the instance of rape or incest, fatal fetal anomaly, or when abortion is needed to protect the pregnant woman’s life or health.

Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, said the ballot title seeks to allow abortion on demand in the state ending the protection of mothers and their unborn children that has been in place since the June 2022 Dobbs decision when the U. S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade ruling that the federal constitution did not guarantee a right to legal abortion.

“The broadly written language is so extreme that even pro-choice voters will see it goes too far. It clearly allows abortions up to the moment of birth and mandates that even the most basic limits on the profit-driven abortion industry are removed. The proposed constitutional amendment is not about limited government, it’s about forcing no-limit abortion on the people of Arkansas,” said Mimms.

The opinion released by Griffin said it found fault with the language and technical details of the ballot proposal, which backers said would make reproductive health decisions private up to the 18th week of pregnancy part of the state constitution. Cited were “ambiguities” preventing the Attorney General from approving the proposal were the use of the words “access” and “health” in several places, which Griffin said lacked clarity in the way the words were used.

Additionally, Griffin’s opinion said the popular name of the proposal is “tinged with partisan coloring.” Another reason for rejection stated in the opinion was a failure by the ballot language to describe its impact on existing laws, including Arkansas’ Constitutional Amendment 68.

Amendment 68 was created in 1988 and states that “The policy of Arkansas is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution.”

Arkansans for Limited Government may now resubmit a revised proposal that addresses the issues found in Griffin’s opinion. 

Categories: State Legislation