3-day abortion wait clears Arkansas House, 29-5

Pregnant women must wait 72 hours and be given descriptive information before a doctor can perform an abortion under a bill passed Thursday in the Arkansas House.

Senate Bill 278 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, increased the "reflection period" from 48 hours and requires clinics to report abortions that result in live births. It quickly sailed through the Senate with a 29-5 vote.

The bill, which passed the House on Tuesday by 75-13 -- now heads to the governor's desk.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

SB278 requires doctors to provide pregnant women with a description of the procedure, medical risks, available medical assistance and their child-support rights and to give that information 72 hours before performing an abortion, except in case of a medical emergency.

SB278 also requires that patients be offered 24-hour telephone consultation availability with a registered nurse or doctor. The bill also mandates that an abortion facility have a written procedure for emergency transfer of a patient to an acute care facility.

-- Jeannie Roberts

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