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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Asa Hutchinson sits to take questions from reporters Thursday. ( Emma Pettit)

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.


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Archived Comments

  • dunk7474
    January 26, 2017 at 1:08 p.m.

    Why do they let men vote on this law? But take your time with the pot law that would help many more people. I'm sure that each man who voted for the abortion law, signed up to adopt at least two children.

  • TimberTopper
    January 26, 2017 at 1:49 p.m.

    dunk, all of the Arkansas lawmakers may have been banned from adoption after the RE-Homing BS from a previous law maker. Whatever the cost to the state to fight this and loose in court, the lawmakers that vote for it along with his governorship, should he sign it should be forced by law to re-pay the state coffers that amount!

  • Popsmith
    January 26, 2017 at 2:31 p.m.

    Abortion is still murder.

  • matychyswbellnet
    January 26, 2017 at 5:35 p.m.

    I am pro choice. I don't think abortion should be used as any sort of birth control though. But for reasons unbeknownst to me, a women should have the right to a safe abortion. What we are being told now is until we get a pro choice governor back in office safe abortions are off limits.

  • NutButter
    January 26, 2017 at 5:35 p.m.

    Popsmith, Yes, I agree abortion is murder, but the same lawmakers don't want to spend money helping raise these children. It's sad to say that we read every day about unwanted children that are abused, raped, or murdered by their own parents.

  • dunk7474
    January 26, 2017 at 6:19 p.m.

    Popsmith: Religion has caused more deaths than abortion ever did. Why don't we make religion illegal?

  • noname2u
    January 26, 2017 at 6:45 p.m.

    Most of the people I've met who say that abortion is murder do *nothing* to advocate for disarmament or peace. It's not really about the sanctity of life with them; it's about controlling women. We all know this.

    January 26, 2017 at 7:02 p.m.

    Shame on Men that treat Women as Second Class Citizens, This is so Upsetting to read that most Legislators are voting to Waste the Resources that Arkansas has, voting in a Bill that treats Women as Second Class Citizens, a Bill that they know is Unconstitutional and will be overturned, This is not Legislating, This Is Pandering, And The Governor should be above this. This is actually so sad for the Citizens of Arkansas to see their hard earned dollars Squandered,

  • tpinter63comcastnet
    January 26, 2017 at 7:37 p.m.

    the article does not go into the details of a "D & E Abortion"... I wonder why?

    Here is detailed description of the dilation and evacuation procedure, from an OB/GYN who has performed over 1200 abortions.

    "A dilation and evacuation abortion, D&E, is a surgical abortion procedure during which an abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus."

    "To prepare for a D&E abortion, the abortionist uses laminaria, a form of sterilized seaweed, to open the woman’s cervix 24 to 48 hours before the procedure. The laminaria soaks up liquid from the woman’s body and expands, widening (i.e., dilating) the cervix.

    When the woman returns to the abortion clinic, the abortionist may administer anesthesia and further open the cervix using metal dilators and a speculum. The abortionist inserts a large suction catheter into the uterus and turns it on, emptying the amniotic fluid.

    After the amniotic fluid is removed, the abortionist uses a sopher clamp — a grasping instrument with rows of sharp “teeth” — to grasp and pull the baby’s arms and legs, tearing the limbs from the child’s body. The abortionist continues to grasp intestines, spine, heart, lungs, and any other limbs or body parts. The most difficult part of the procedure is usually finding, grasping and crushing the baby’s head. After removing pieces of the child’s skull, the abortionist uses a curette to scrape the uterus and remove the placenta and any remaining parts of the baby."

    "The abortionist then collects all of the baby’s parts and reassembles them to make sure there are two arms, two legs, and that all of the pieces have been removed."

    source: abortionprocedures. c o m/about-dr-levationo/

    This is the abortion procedure that the bill just passed will ban. How on earth can anyone, knowing the facts, be for this procedure, is beyond me. Men & Women of all races should be against this ghastly procedure.

    And before you ask, I have 2 adopted children, not that it matters in being able to have an opinion on what is right and wrong. May God have mercy on us all.

  • information19
    January 26, 2017 at 8:19 p.m.

    Men are so stupid. I am amazed that we've made it this far with all these buttmunchers trying to play God and think for everyone else. Trouble is, it's our behavior that gets us in trouble!