A bill that would make it all but impossible for a woman to obtain an abortion in her second trimester will be filed next week, Rep.-elect Andy Mayberry (R-East End) tells the AP.
Mayberry’s bill would prohibit dilation and evacuation, a procedure that is used in 95 percent of all second-trimester abortions in the U.S.
Last year, 683 of the 3,771 abortions performed in Arkansas were done using dilation and evacuation.
This is almost certainly a model bill courtesy of the National Right to Life Committee. Mayberry became president of the Arkansas chapter in 2015. Mississippi and West Virginia have passed similar bills.
As a legislator in 2013, Mayberry successfully passed a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed the bill, but the state House voted to override it.
The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that women have the right to an abortion up to the point when a fetus can live outside of the womb, and federal courts elsewhere have overturned similar laws as 20-weeks is far in advance of fetal viability, but there hasn’t been a legal challenge to the law here, perhaps because no doctor in Arkansas provides late-term abortions on a regular basis and a plaintiff in need of an abortion hasn’t emerged.
Mayberry’s bill of course is sure to be only the beginning of legislation aimed at limiting medical rights.