Apr 16, 2024 - Politics

Abortion could be on the ballot in Arkansas in November

Illustration of a Vote button with red cross symbols replacing the stars.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A group is collecting signatures for an amendment that would make abortion legal in Arkansas again.

The big picture: Since the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion has been banned in Arkansas except to save the pregnant person's life, treat an ectopic pregnancy or remove a dead fetus.

The law does not provide exceptions for rape, incest, age or health of the pregnant person, or fatal fetal anamoly.

  • Doctors performing an abortion could be fined up to $100,000, face 10 years in prison or both.

State of play: The Arkansas Abortion Amendment of 2024 spearheaded by Arkansans for Limited Government would permit abortion through the first 18 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Abortion would also be legal in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly, to save the pregnant person's life or to protect the pregnant person from "a physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury."

What it means: The amendment defines fatal fetal anomaly as a medical condition diagnosed before birth that, in a physician's judgment, will lead to fetal or neonatal death and for which lifesaving medical intervention would be futile.

  • It defines "physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury" to include life-endangering physical disorders, physical illnesses or physical injuries, as well as any situation in which continuing the pregnancy would create a serious risk of substantial impairment of the pregnant person's major bodily function.

Zoom out: Abortion rights have won every time they've been on the ballot since Roe v. Wade was overturned, even in "red" states.

Go deeper: See other ballot measures

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