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LITTLE ROCK — Senators in Arkansas approved a measure Thursday that imposes a new requirement on doctors who perform abortions, the latest in a series of restrictions on the procedure in the state that are moving quickly through the Legislature.

The Senate voted 29-5 in favor of the proposal, which would require doctors who perform abortions to be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. The measure now heads to the House.

The proposal advanced a day after lawmakers sent the governor legislation banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to sign the 18-week ban into law.

The latest restriction prompted complaints from Democrats about the flurry of abortion prohibitions the Legislature has taken up this session. Arkansas already bans abortion 20 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, and Hutchinson last month signed into law a bill to ban abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark 1972 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing the procedure nationwide.

"There comes a time when enough is enough," Democratic Sen. Linda Chesterfield said. "We've had at least a gazillion bills on abortion and there are women who own businesses who will not come to this state because there seems to be a war on women."

The latest measure is similar to a Mississippi law that a federal judge upheld last year. Supporters say the restriction is needed to ensure the safety of women undergoing abortions in Arkansas.

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

"This would put an added layer of protection in," Republican Sen. Gary Stubblefield said.

Medical groups have said the requirement for doctors who perform abortions is unnecessary. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it opposes such restrictions.

Arkansas has three abortion facilities, but only one — run by Little Rock Family Planning Services — performs surgical abortions. The other two, operated by Planned Parenthood, administer drugs to induce abortions.

"(The bill) would eliminate women's access to safe, qualified providers, threatening women's health and lives by restricting abortion access," Gloria Pedro, Arkansas lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said in a statement.

Three Democrats joined the Senate's 26 Republicans in supporting the restriction.

Also on Thursday, an Arkansas House panel approved a Senate-backed bill that would require doctors to give written notice to women undergoing drug-induced abortions informing them the procedure can be halted halfway through it. Medical groups say science doesn't back up that claim. That proposal now heads to the House for a vote.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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  • JA40
    March 14, 2019 at 4:47 p.m.

    I'm sure each of our Senators graduated from med school and can therefore, knowledgeably, pass this guidance on.

  • mrcharles
    March 14, 2019 at 5:28 p.m.

    As usual the divines and the right wing have no inegrity. There stated reasons are not the reason they have for these laws to protect the health. Like DT talking about humanitarian crises, as everyone knows and sees here his lesser imps do not give a hot damn about humanitarian issues, they actually disdain the humans there at the border, but there putin lover will mouth that lie.

    Integrity and honesty is not their strong suit, and the lesser imps here know it. GM comes close to the being a poster boy for the right, as his pronouncements leaves no doubt that many of the creations of the creator are worthless.

    Guess the doctor-patient system is the legislature-patient system now.

  • NoUserName
    March 14, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.

    What would a doctor performing abortions normally be board-certified in?
    In addition, I know someone who had a D&C due to a miscarriage. Since D&C (I think?) can be used in 1st trimester abortions, will the state require a doctor board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology to also perform this surgical procedure in the case of miscarriage? After all, this is all about patient safety, right?

  • Skeptic1
    March 14, 2019 at 9 p.m.

    And in the mean time north of 5,000 children taken from their families for $$ to feed the DCFS machine have no one to turn to and neither do their desperate parents and extended family. The senate has had witness after witness, expert after expert, testify the agency is off the rails taking children that shouldn't be taken for the federal money they generate or back door baby shopping for those wanting to adopt not only for free but a monthly paycheck until the kid turns 18. Good going Senate Republicans, let's pat yourselves on the back for saving the unborn and the already born be damned.

  • Popsmith
    March 14, 2019 at 9:38 p.m.

    Abortion is still murder.
    Black babies make up 40% of abortions. Where is the equality outcry?