Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert has filed a new bill challenging abortion in Arkansas.
Senate Bill 6 (SB 6), which was filed Wednesday, Nov. 18, aims to create the “Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would be an amendment to Arkansas Code Title 5, Chapter 61. According to the bill, the purpose of the act would be to “ensure that abortion in Arkansas is abolished and protect the lives of unborn children.
This bill, intended for the 2021 Regular Legislative Session, is a follow-up to Senate Bill 149 of the 2019 Session, which later became Act 180 of 2019. This act created the “Arkansas Human Life Protection Act,” which would enable the State of Arkansas to have the authority to prohibit abortion once the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade or an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowed the state to prohibit abortion.
Much of the language used in Senate Bill 6 is identical to the language found in Act 180, down to the purpose of the two pieces of legislation: “ensure that abortion in Arkansas is abolished and protect the lives of unborn children.”
Jerry Cox, the president of the conservative outreach organization Family Council, issued a statement in support of the bill. He stated that Arkansas citizens are “overwhelmingly pro-life” and that the Family Council supported the law’s passage.
“Many people have been saying for almost fifty years that abortion should be illegal. The time has come for us to make it so. S.B. 6 will give the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. Family Council fully supports the passage of this good law. This is an opportunity for Arkansas to be a real leader in the effort to end abortion in America,” he said.
This bill is sponsored by Rapert and co-sponsored by Rep. Mary Bentley (R) of Perryville.
Rapert has been a frequent opponent of abortion in Arkansas. In the 2019 session, he sponsored Act 180 and co-sponsored three pieces of legislation (Acts 493,619,620) that limited abortion practice.
He also co-sponsored Act 733 in 2017, as well as Acts 139, 577, 1014 and House Bill 1421 of 2015. One of his first notable legislative acts was sponsoring Senate Bill 134 of 2013, which created the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which prohibits the “termination of the life of an unborn human individual whose heartbeat has been detected under § 20-16-1303 and is twelve (12) weeks or greater gestation.”