LITTLE ROCK — Anti-abortion activists displayed what they said were more than 10,000 signatures on petitions to the state Capitol on Wednesday in support of legislative efforts to restricts abortion rights.
Rose Mimms, president of Arkansas Right to Life, told a crowd of about 50 people at a Capitol news conference that the signatures were gathered over a two-year period "to oppose the pro-abortion agenda of the federal government and Planned Parenthood and to advance … pro-life legislation to protect women and unborn children in Arkansas."
The federal Affordable Health Care Act of 2011 allows for state’s to opt out of abortion coverage in their health insurance exchanges.
In Arkansas, failing to opt out would put Arkansas in conflict with Amendment 68, which prohibits public funding of an abortion, except to save the mother’s life. Rep. Butch Wilkins, D-Bono, and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, will sponsor a bill that would require the state to opt out of the coverage, Mimms said.
She said 18 states have already enacted similar legislation.
Mimms said another measure would ban abortions beyond the time fetuses are thought to feel pain, 20 weeks. Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-East End, and Sen. Jon Wood, R-Springdale, are gathering co-sponsors on that legislation, she said.
A third proposed bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Tommy Wren, D-Melbourne, and Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, would prohibit doctors from prescribing abortion medications to patients via a "web-cam" consultation.
Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas Chapter of the American for Civil Liberties Union, said recently her organization opposes all three proposals.