Arkansas Lawmakers Shut Down Effort To Pass Texas Abortion Copycat Bill

Legislators in Arkansas voted Thursday not to extend a special session to consider a bill that would have copied Texas' controversial abortion law.

The Supreme Court is in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2021.

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Rapert introduced a bill Tuesday that would ban all abortions in the state and allow private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who facilitates an abortion in the state.

Rapert wanted to extend the special session so that the abortion bill could be passed.

The Senate voted 23-11 not to extend the special session, and the House passed a bill to adjourn the special session rather than consider its version of the abortion.

Rapert said in a statement that it was a sad day for the unborn in Arkansas.

Bill Sample told the Democrat that the bill was about a political campaign game and that he objected to the lawsuit provision.

Hutchinson said in a statement that he believed the state should wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the Texas abortion law and Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban.

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Rapert said that the legislature had the ability to protect unborn Arkansans and not wait for the Supreme Court to render its opinion. The political will needed from the legislative branch to protect unborn Arkansans from the crime against humanity that is abortion was ceded to the political agenda of the Governor.

Hutchinson said in a statement that Rapert's bill was not supported by his colleagues. Instead of working with his colleagues, Sen. Rapert chose to politically grandstand and that rarely leads to good legislation.

What to watch for.

Similar bills copying the Texas law are still pending in Florida, Ohio, and most recently Alabama, where legislation was pre-filed Wednesday in advance of the legislature's upcoming session. The Guttmacher Institute has predicted that at least 14 states could eventually introduce legislation similar to the Senate Bill 8-style legislation. The Supreme Court is considering whether to allow two lawsuits to move forward in the lower courts, and whether to issue an injunction that would block the law as they do, which could make it harder for other states to pass similar legislation.

The key background.

The most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. since the Supreme Court decided in 1973 is Texas's Senate Bill 8. While other state abortion bans have been quickly struck down in court, the lawsuit enforcement provision of the law makes it harder to strike it down in court, making it so attractive for other states to copy. The law was found to be in violation of the Texas Constitution by a Texas state court, but it still remains in effect despite the court's ruling.

The Senate and the Arkansas House failed to extend the special session.

The Senate and House voted to adjourn, stopping the effort to extend the session.

All the states are weighing a similar ban on abortion.

How Americans Really Feel About Abortion: The Sometimes Surprising Poll Results.