LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Significant changes will occur to Arkansas abortion law if proposed legislation passes.

Arkansas House Bill 1174 was submitted late Thursday and has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. It is sponsored by Rep. Richard Womack (R-Arkadelphia), Sen. Matt McKee (R-Pearcy), and two cosponsors.

“To me, this is just another step down my path to stop abortions in Arkansas,” Womack said.

The bill proposes several changes to the state’s abortion law, including making abortion a homicide with possible felony charges.  It would allow a woman to be prosecuted for their child’s death, essentially equating an unborn child’s death with the death of any other person.

Also proposed are protections to prevent a woman from being pressured to get an abortion, through means such as advertisements, solicitations or even encouragement.  

Democrat State Sen. Greg Leding said the bill is frightening.

“It’s just incredibly egregious trying to prosecute women for making their own reproductive health choices,” Leding said.

The bill does not include exceptions for rape or incest.

“There’s nowhere else in the law where just by virtue of being a victim of a terrible, terrible circumstance and crime that you now have gained the right to make somebody else a victim too,” Womack said.

Other proposed changes allow medical protection for the mother, including the requirement for a licensed physician to perform an abortion. Abortion to prevent the mother’s death, such as ectopic pregnancy, or when all other alternatives to saving the life of an unborn child have been exhausted would also be permitted.

Sen. Leding said he will do what he can to oppose further restrictions.

“I can’t think of any grosser government overreach than inserting ourselves into one of the most intimate and difficult decisions that people can make,” Leding said.

An unborn child’s accidental or unplanned death would also be protected from criminal charges. 

The bill was submitted with an emergency clause, which would allow for it to be enacted into law as soon as it is passed by both houses and signed by the governor. 

The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.