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Decline to Sign the Arkansas Abortion-until-Birth Mandate

by | Mar 20, 2024

Resist the effort to place a pro-abortion constitutional amendment referendum on the ballot in Arkansas this fall.

 By Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life

Editor’s note. This appeared at National Review Online.

In recent weeks, abortion-industry-aligned forces have unveiled plans to radically change the Arkansas constitution with the so-called “Arkansas Abortion Amendment.” Under the guise of reining in government overreach, the amendment’s broad language would force no-limit abortions on the people of our state and mandate the removal of even the most basic limits on the profit-driven abortion industry. So much for the “safe, legal, and rare” rhetoric pushed by a former (abortion-industry-backed) President from Hope.

Taking a page out of the radical Left’s playbook in other states, a front group ironically calling itself “Arkansans for Limited Government” has, as required by law, submitted a ballot issue titled “The Arkansas Abortion Amendment” to the state’s attorney general; he has since approved it. Other states have seen similar groups pop up with heavy funding from coastal elites such as George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. If people know anything about these two characters, it is that they certainly are not from Arkansas, and that they are not often accused of supporting smaller-government causes.

Aside from the proponent organization’s misleading name, its initial language and title submission could easily mislead voters into believing the measure is limited to abortions before 18 weeks (about five months) and for very difficult situations. Yet these abortion extremists go much further than that.

They have included in the amendment language about “physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself and any situation in which continuation of a pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function of a pregnant female” as a loophole to any gestational-age abortion limit. They are also proposing exceptions that would guarantee abortions to birth, since no law will be able to police them. For example, courts have interpreted “health exceptions” very broadly, giving abortionists a blank check to poison, dismember, and discard a preborn child up to the moment of birth.

The amendment would have other horrible consequences. In addition to enabling “birthday abortions” up to the moment of birth, it decrees that the people of Arkansas would be limited in their ability to “prohibit, penalize, delay or restrict” even the most extreme abortions through legislation and/or regulation. It would gut Amendment 68, the Unborn Child Amendment, to the Arkansas constitution. That amendment states it is the policy of Arkansas to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the federal Constitution. The amendment would also make “null and void” any laws passed to provide safety and health protections for pregnant women or minor girls that seek abortion. In the latter case, that would likely include parental-notification and -consent laws. Without such laws, a 14-year-old girl could be dropped off at an abortion clinic by her sex trafficker or sexual predator without her parents or loved ones ever knowing.

Other probable victims of the amendment’s passage would include waiting periods to ensure that women are fully informed and protected from unsafe conditions and practices, any and all laws passed to inspect abortion facilities and require licensing and reporting of complications, injuries, and deaths of women at the hands of the abortionists. Forget about reporting requirements that can bring sexual predators to justice and stop the abuse of minor girls and vulnerable women who fall prey to them.

All these commonsense measures will almost certainly be seen as an undue attempt to “prohibit, penalize, delay or restrict” the activities of the abortion industry in Arkansas. The amendment is worse than Roe v. Wade for Arkansas.

Which is why Arkansas Right to Life is engaged in a statewide Decline to Sign campaign to defeat the amendment’s supporters. Those supporters must present signatures from just more than 90,000 registered voters by July 5, 2024. Said signatures must come from residents in at least 50 counties.

As the weeks and months move forward, Arkansans should expect to see petition signature-gatherers asking them to endorse changing the state constitution to allow unrestricted abortion in our state. That would most certainly result in thousands of abortions each year and could make Arkansas an abortion destination.

Many of these circulators are volunteers who may have a genuine interest in helping women. But they have been misled into thinking that abortion is good, and that women need it and will die without it. The truth is that each and every induced abortion is an unnatural, cruel, and deliberately inhumane act that kills an innocent unborn child and irreparably and permanently affects the mother for the rest of her life.

If you are approached by one such signature-gather, for the sake of countless babies, for the safety of women, for the protection of minor girls, for the future mothers and daughters of the state of Arkansas and the integrity of our constitution — I would ask you to politely decline to sign the petition to kill unborn babies in Arkansas. Choose life, Arkansas.

Categories: State Legislation