ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A federal judge pauses the Texas abortion ban passed early September.
Clinics that offer abortions in states like Arkansas and Oklahoma have been seeing women from Texas who are desperate for these services, but Arkansas could soon become as restrictive as Texas. State Senator Jason Rapert (R- District 35) said despite the ban being on hold in Texas, he plans to offer a similar bill in Arkansas
The bill would mirror Texas’s abortion ban- putting enforcement i the hands of people. This means regular citizens would be able to bring lawsuits against doctors who perform or help perform abortions.
“Anything that would stop abortion here in Arkansas is worthy of our attention,” the senator said. “I actually feel like there’s a great chance that the fifth circuit will not uphold the Obama judge’s ruling in Texas.”
Rapert said this decision from the federal judge was expected, but he is hopeful Texas’s abortion case will make it to the United States Supreme Court.
While abortions were banned in Texas over the last month, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Great Plains said Arkansas and Oklahoma saw a spike in women coming from Texas for abortions.
“I think the problematic part for those folks are the hurdles that they’re having to go through,” said Emily Wales, Planned Parenthood Interim CEO. “So, for the few patients that have had to go as far as Little Rock for abortion care, it has meant arranging childcare; We’ve seen folks tell us about the hours they’ve spent trying to arrange travel, taking off of work. The human impact is really real.”
Wales said the law has ultimately caused some women to have to get an abortion later in their pregnancy than they would have, had they not had to travel.
“There’s a limit on how long you can access medication abortion pill,” she said. “So, for some patients, the decision to delay means you have to push back two or three weeks and that also means losing the type of procedure that you prefer.”
Rapert said this should not have been happening in our state in the first place. He hopes to change it with his heartbeat bill.
For me, as a Christian, God created life. He is the giver of life. He said in Jeremiah chapter one that He knew Jeremiah before He ever formed him in the womb. That is important for people to understand.”STATE SENATOR JASON RAPERT, (R- DISTRICT 35)
Wales, however, said it is not his- or any legislator’s- decision to make.
When legislators talk about introducing something similar to what’s in Texas, what they’re talking about is neighbors preventing neighbors from getting healthcare.”EMILY WALES, INTERIM CEO, PLANEND PARENTHOOD GREAT PLAINS
Rapert has already drafted this bill and plans to introduce it during a special session expected to be called after this extended session ends.