On June 27th, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court. Republicans are excited President Donald J. Trump now gets to determine the future of the Supreme Court by adding another right-wing conservative to the bench: his nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Pro-life state legislatures cannot help but be hopeful the Supreme Court will finally overturn the infamous Roe v. Wade.
Arkansas is just one state poised to make abortion illegal after Roe is overturned. Located in the bible belt, Arkansas is a blue-collar state with a churchgoing traditionalist culture. These values and morals are passed on from generation to generation. Its conservative values continue to be reflected in the state’s government.
Arkansas legislators are already working to abolish abortion at the state level. According to John Moritz from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Representative Bob Ballinger tweeted he has a bill waiting to be signed to abolish abortion.
John Moritz of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette spoke with Representative Bob Ballinger over the phone, and Ballinger said his bill would only permit abortion when the mother or the child was at risk. However, Ballinger said the current draft of the bill would not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
According to the New York Times, it’s no secret Arkansas is against abortion, considering Trump won 60% of the vote in the state in 2016. Arkansas still has a bad taste in its mouth from when the Supreme Court overruled the state’s power allowing same-sex marriage across all fifty states.
According to Moritz, State Senator Trent Garner of El-Dorado has already expressed his approval of the bill. In 2017, Arkansas conceded several bills to restrict abortion after so many weeks into the pregnancy. “Arkansas looks to be the first pro-life State,” said Moritz. He could not be nearer to the truth, as Arkansas hopes Roe v. Wade will be overturned soon after President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is approved by the Senate this fall.
However, overturning Roe v. Wade will not be easy. Democrats across the country are calling for a stall to the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice until after the 2018 midterm elections. If the Democrats gain back the Senate, it will be difficult for conservatives to get a pro-life Justice confirmed. President Trump is rushing to get his Supreme Court Justice nominee confirmed by the Senate before there is any risk of the Democrats gaining back the majority.
While Democrats and abortion-choice organizations continue to fight to keep abortion clinics open and abortions legal and rampantly accessible, Arkansas has seen an 8% increase in abortions since 2011. In the eyes of the conservative Arkansas legislature, that is “over 3,000” too many.
While Republicans in the federal government hope to retain a majority in the Legislature and gain a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Democrats will not lose silently. They will continue to fight to keep abortion legal; but in the minds of pro-lifers, this is the beginning of the end of legal abortion.
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