The Arkansas governor has claimed he disagrees with the state’s ban on abortion in cases of rape or incest — despite signing up to the strict law.
Governor Asa Hutchinson admitted in an interview with “State of the Nation” on Sunday that the state’s anti-abortion “trigger law” will create “heartbreaking circumstances” if the landmark Roe v Wade ruling is quashed. be “revised”.
“While it is still the life in the womb, the life of the unborn, the conception was under criminal circumstances, either incest or rape. And so those are two exceptions that I’ve recognized to be very appropriate in my view,” he said.
“And what will happen as time goes by, if Roe v. Wade is reversed, these are going to be very real circumstances.
“I think the debate and discussion will continue and that could very well be revisited. I believe those exceptions are going to be important… in general to save lives, because the public understands those exceptions, the importance of them. So I think that will be reviewed.”
Arkansas is one of 13 states to have “trigger laws” that would immediately ban abortions in the state once Roe is overturned.
Unlike some states, Arkansas makes no exceptions for pregnancy through rape or incest.
The only exception is in the case of a medical emergency where the mother’s life is in danger.
Women are threatened with up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000 if they break the law.
The strict law was signed by Governor Hutchinson in 2019 and will take effect immediately if the Supreme Court overthrows Roe.
Trying to avoid responsibility for the ban, the governor insisted that he always wanted rape and incest to be the exception.
“Every time I signed that law, I’ve said I support the rape and incest exceptions,” he said.
“Mother’s life and rape and incest are two exceptions that I think should have been added that didn’t get the support in the general assembly.”
While he said he believed it would be “reconsidered,” CNN’s Dana Bash insisted that he had already signed the bill into law and that the clock is ticking for him to make some change as his term ends in January. expires.
“If You Can’t Change” [the trigger law]that means girls who are still children, 11 and 12 year olds, could be in that situation in a very real way within a few months,” she said.
“Those are heartbreaking circumstances,” he responded.
“When we passed these trigger laws, we were trying to … reduce abortions, but when you see those real-world circumstances, the debate will continue and may or may not change the will of the people.”
The governor’s apparent backlash after enacting one of the nation’s strictest abortion laws comes as women’s right to health care and access to abortion across America are threatened.
Earlier this month, a bombshell leaked out of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion showing that the majority of judges want to impeach Roe v Wade.
The landmark 1973 ruling gave Americans a constitutional right to abortion.
If Roe is overturned, about half of all US states are expected to ban abortion altogether, with several Republican governors already signing restrictive laws in their states.
This week, Oklahoma passed a law banning all abortions at any stage of pregnancy, the only exception being rape or incest if reported to police.