A federal judge has struck down North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban as unconstitutional. Arkansas has both a 20-week ban, not yet challenged in court, and a new 18-week abortion ban.

All these fail constitutional muster under existing court precedent because they ban abortion before viability of the fetus.

The bans on abortions later in pregnancy invariably harm most the women in the most difficult situations, with medical conditions of their own of the fetus on which many base abortion decisions. The Arkansas legislature thinks those decisions should be theirs, not those of pregnant women.

The hope of abortion opponents is that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade and allow legislation such as this to stand. If that happens, it will open the door to total bans on abortion in states like Arkansas, despite the clear preference of a majority of residents that abortion remains an option, if limited.

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18- and 20-week bans affect a relative handful of cases. They just happen to be those most in need of the option.