On Tuesday the Arkansas House of Representatives passed passed H.B. 1098 without any opposition.
H.B. 1098 expands Arkansas’ Safe Haven law that lets women anonymously surrender a newborn.
The Safe Haven Act lets a woman surrender her newborn baby to law enforcement, medical personnel, and first responders.
The law gives women with unplanned pregnancies an option besides abortion, and it protects newborns from being abandoned.
Similar laws are on the books in all 50 states.
Act 185 of 2019 by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Rebecca Petty (R – Rogers) improved Arkansas’ Safe Haven law by letting fire stations install Safe Haven Boxes — sometimes called ‘baby boxes’ — where women can anonymously place their newborn. Placing a baby inside the box triggers a silent alarm notifying first responders about the child.
H.B. 1098 by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) makes it possible for volunteer fire departments to install baby boxes at their stations, provided that the department maintains and monitors the baby box in accordance with state law, and first responders are able to reach the baby in less than four minutes.
The bill now goes to the Arkansas Senate for a vote.
On Thursday Rep. Richard Womack (R – Arkadelphia) and Sen. Matt McKee (R – Pearcy) filed H.B. 1174.
The bill would change Arkansas’ law concerning fetal homicide. It also would amend the state’s wrongful death law that governs lawsuits people can file when an unborn child is killed.
Current law exempts a woman from prosecution or other legal action when her unborn baby is killed. This prevents a woman from being prosecuted or sued for the death of her unborn child — even if the child’s death is caused by an abortion.
H.B. 1174 would amend Arkansas’ law in such a way that a woman could be prosecuted for having an abortion, and she could be sued if her unborn child dies.
The bill contains exceptions for “accidental miscarriage,” and for certain types of medical procedures necessary to save the life of the woman. It is unclear at this time how a court might interpret these exceptions in light of Arkansas’ other laws concerning abortion.
Under our existing pro-life laws, the State of Arkansas can prosecute abortionists and close their abortion facilities.
We don’t have to prosecute women in order to prevent abortion in Arkansas.
We Appreciate Rep. Womack and Sen. McKee
The Arkansas Legislature is very likely the most pro-life legislature in the nation. After all, Arkansas has been ranked the most pro-life state in America for several years now. We applaud the pro-life spirit demonstrated by our good friends Rep. Womack and Sen. McKee. Their introduction of this bill proves that they care deeply about this issue, and we are grateful for that. Sometimes friends simply agree to disagree on certain policies. We are looking forward to working with both of these great lawmakers on many more good laws during this legislative session.