Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Opponents of an abortion ban in Arkansas protested at the statehouse Wednesday in outfits inspired by The Handmaid's Tale. (Photo: Arkansas Abortion Support Network/Facebook)

Opponents of an abortion ban in Arkansas protested at the statehouse Wednesday in outfits inspired by The Handmaid's Tale. (Photo: Arkansas Abortion Support Network/Facebook)

In Bid to Force SCOTUS Review, Arkansas Lawmakers Pass 'Plainly Unconstitutional' Near-Total Ban on Abortion

Amid public health and financial crises, said the ACLU of Arkansas, "it is especially reprehensible that so many lawmakers remain hellbent on a harmful crusade to intrude on people's personal autonomy."

Jessica Corbett

As part of GOP lawmakers' ongoing efforts across the country to outlaw abortion and enable the right-wing majority U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, the Arkansas Legislature on Wednesday passed a near-total ban that the state's ACLU chapter described as "plainly unconstitutional."

"It's time for this decision to be overturned in the Supreme Court," said state Rep. Mary Bentley, a Republican who sponsored the measure, which bans all abortions except to save the life of the pregnant person in a medical emergency and does not include exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal anomaly.

The GOP-majority Arkansas House approved the ban in a 75-18 vote that followed a 27-7 vote in the state Senate, also controlled by Republicans, last month.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has signed various abortion restrictions. Although Hutchinson didn't say whether he will endorse this one, he said before the House vote that "it's pro-life legislation and I support pro-life legislation." If he doesn't act within five days, excluding Sunday, the bill will become law without his signature.

The legislation in Arkansas is part of a broader trend, Elisabeth Smith, the chief counsel for state policy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, recently told HuffPost.

"While the number of bills we are seeing now is in keeping with recent years, the difference is that the bills have become more extreme. Many states are introducing outright abortion bans," said Smith, whose comments came ahead of Wednesday's vote.

"Lawmakers are now very open about their goal of eliminating abortion access in their state, whereas before, they tried to disguise their motives," she said. "For example, we used to see more bills that saddled abortion clinics with so many regulations that they'd be forced to shut down. Those bills were always passed under the guise of protecting women's health, but now politicians have dropped the facade. They're openly and unabashedly trying to ban abortion."

The ACLU of Arkansas vowed to fight against the measure in a statement Wednesday.

"We're disheartened to see a majority of legislators, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, act so brazenly to undermine its fundamental guarantees," the group said. "At a time when so many Arkansans are facing financial hardship and personal loss from a global pandemic, it is especially reprehensible that so many lawmakers remain hellbent on a harmful crusade to intrude on people's personal autonomy and force them to continue pregnancies against their will."

"This abortion ban is plainly unconstitutional and we stand ready to challenge it and any effort to block Arkansans from care or dictate their personal medical decisions," the state's ACLU added. "We will be seeing the state of Arkansas in court again."

Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes is circulating a petition urging Hutchinson to veto the bill, which the group calls "an outright ban on abortion."

"It is harmful legislation that criminalizes doctors and would prevent Arkansans from accessing a safe procedure that one in four American women in their lifetime will need," the petition says. "This is an extreme attack on a woman's constitutional right to safe, legal abortion care that has no exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly."

Various state lawmakers spoke out against the measure Wednesday.

"The goal of this legislation is not to protect life, but rather to go to the Supreme Court," said state Rep. Ashley Hudson (D-Little Rock). "What we are doing now is gambling with our constituents' lives."

"We don't have to do this," Hudson added. "We don't have to make women in this state collateral damage just to promote a political cause."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo