Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure.
The measure bans the procedure known as dilation and evacuation, which abortion-rights supporters contend is the safest and most common procedure used in second-trimester abortions. Hutchinson signed the bill hours after it was approved by the majority-GOP Senate on a 25-6 vote. It won't take effect until later this year.
Arkansas Right to Life has called the prohibition its top legislative priority in Arkansas, and the group's president has called the procedure "barbaric."
"I think this is a humane bill. ... I think it does move us to a more compassionate society," Republican Sen. David Sanders, who co-sponsored the measure, told lawmakers before the vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas says the measure is unconstitutional.
"It's an empty gesture that's going to cost the state tens of thousands of dollars in litigation fees and costs," said Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas.
Similar bans are in effect in Mississippi and West Virginia. Those in other states have been put on hold due to legal challenges.
The procedure was used in 683 of the 3,771 abortions performed in Arkansas in 2015, according to the state Department of Health.
The Arkansas law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature formally adjourns its 2017 session, which usually occurs in April or May.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
EARLIER: Arkansas Senate OKs ban of common second-trimester abortion procedure
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Legislature has approved a measure to ban a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure, and the governor is expected to sign it into law.
The majority-GOP Senate voted 25-6 Thursday to ban the procedure known as dilation and evacuation, a second-trimester procedure that abortion supporters contend is the safest and most common.
The legislation now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it into law.
The governor said at a news conference around noon Thursday the legislation had not reached his desk. When it does, he intends to sign it, Hutchinson said.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 683 of the 3,771 abortions performed in Arkansas in 2015 were performed through the procedure.
Abortion opponents have called the procedure "barbaric," while Planned Parenthood has blasted the legislation as unconstitutional. Mississippi and West Virginia have similar bans in effect.