A Senate committee today approved a so-called trigger bill that makes abortion illegal in Arkansas should the U.S. Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade, which limits the states’ ability to outlaw abortion.

Exceptions would be strictly limited. An abortion could be performed only to save the life of a woman.


There is potentially a narrow exception for morning-after pills, a high-estrogen birth control pill give shortly after unprotected sex.

But the limits on drug-induced miscarriages are strict. The bill would


Prohibit the sale, use, prescription, or administration of a contraceptive measure, drug, or chemical if the contraceptive measure, drug, or chemical is administered before the time when a pregnancy could be  determined through conventional medical testing and if the contraceptive measure, drug, or chemical is sold, used, prescribed, or administered in accordance with manufacturer instructions.

This is how the bill defines abortion:

Abortion” means the act of using, prescribing, administering, procuring, or selling of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the purpose to terminate the pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the termination by any of those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child.

This opens the door to questions about methods of contraception that might prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. The bill gives personhood to a fertilized egg at the moment of “fusion” of egg with sperm.


The bill goes to the Senate floor for certain passage and then onto the House, where it so far has 33 sponsors. Other measures are on the hopper to make existing legal abortions more difficult to obtain, through a proposed ban on an abortion of a fetus with Down Syndrome and further regulation of doctors. Both of the latter bills have been found unconstitutional in other states, but anti-abortion legislators hope Trump judges will provide different rulings.

Planned Parenthood and others are organizing opposition. Making an abortion a crime won’t end abortions, just make them more dangerous. And the narrowness of this legislation likely will prevent abortions when mother’s health and severe fetal abornmalities otherwise would recommend them.