LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Board of Health has given preliminary approval to regulations defining abortion as the “death of the unborn child,” phrasing that the board attempted to remove from the rules earlier this year.
The state board voted 13-7 Thursday in favor of the preliminary approval of the regulations, which govern facilities that give abortions, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1rnASW0 ) reported.
The regulations would implement several laws passed by the Legislature last year as well as a 2013 law that remained in effect after a federal judge struck down a part that banned most abortions at or after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
At least three of the laws passed in 2015 define abortion as a procedure meant to terminate a pregnancy with the “knowledge that the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson had rejected the board’s 12-6 vote in January to use the phrase “termination of the pregnancy” instead of “the death of the unborn child.”
Hutchinson supports the board’s decision to approve the regulations, said J.R. Davis, a spokesman for the governor.
The board’s president, Jim Lambert said he doesn’t like the language, but that he voted for the regulation because the issue was going to continue coming back to the board.
“If we want to deal with that issue we need to elect different legislators,” Lambert said. “The law’s the law.”
Board member Greg Harper, who proposed phrasing it as “termination of the pregnancy” in January, said the new language referring to death is harmful to women and doesn’t help protect the public.
“I think women have enough sense to know when they go in for this procedure what it is and what the consequences are,” Harper said.
The approved regulations will go back to the governor and then Legislative committees after a public hearing and 30-day public comment period.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com
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