Jun 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson laments lack of exceptions for rape, incest in abortion ban

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) suggested Sunday he's not comfortable with the lack of exceptions for incest or rape in an abortion ban he signed three years ago.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade Friday triggered a 2019 Arkansas law that bans abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother.

What he's saying: "I would have preferred a different outcome than that," Hutchinson said on NBC's "Meet the Press" when host Chuck Todd pointed out that that a 13-year-old who was raped by a relative couldn't get an abortion under the law.

  • "But that's not the debate today in Arkansas. It might be in the future, but for now, the law triggered with only one exception."

Hutchinson signed the law as governor in 2019, and has previously said he personally believes abortion bans should have exceptions for rape and incest. He told CNN in May he wanted the exceptions but couldn't get the support of his legislature.

  • "If Roe v. Wade is reversed, these are going to become real circumstances. I think the debate and discussion will continue," Hutchinson said in May.

Yes, but: At a news conference for the certification of the 2019 law on Friday, Hutchinson said he wouldn't ask the Arkansas legislature to revisit the state's abortion law and make exceptions for rape or incest.

  • "The certification is what it is in terms of the exceptions for the life of the mother," Hutchinson said. "I do not see any additional action on that. The people have spoken on that through their elected representatives, and that is the law of the land in this state."

Worth noting: Hutchinson on "Meet the Press" Sunday added he does not support a national ban on abortion, and that the decision should be left to the states.

  • "I don't believe that we ought to go back to saying there ought to be a national law that's passed," he said. "We've fought for 50 years to have this returned to the states. We've won that battle. It's back to the states. Let's let it be resolved there."

Go deeper: The end of Roe v. Wade in Arkansas

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