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Pro life supporters push legislative agenda

Arkansas Right to Life says it has three pieces of legislation ready to go to limit access to abortions.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas Right to Life says it has three pieces of legislation ready to go to limit access to abortions.

Bills have not been filed yet, but supporters believe this legislative session is the right time to make them law.

Standing in the second floor rotunda, Arkansas Right to Life displays over 10,000 petition signatures it says come from Arkansans supporting three pieces of legislation.

The first, would not allow tax dollars to be used for abortions as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Another, outlaws abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

And preventing the use of so-called "webcam" abortions.

How realistic is it for these three bills to pass? Two of them almost cleared the House and Senate in 2011.

Rose Mims feels a Republican majority this year will help, but says Arkansas Right to Life has bi-partisan support to get the bills out of a 20-person committee.

"Butch Wilkins is a sponsor, he's a Democrat,” she says. “We have another Democrat on the bill. We have 9 Republicans, that's 11 votes. That's all we need to get it out."

"I’ve had an opportunity to visit with a lot of members of that committee,” Andy Mayberry says. “I am cautiously optimistic we will have enough votes to get it out of there. Again, let's decide it in the committee room."

Representative Andy Mayberry says he will sponsor the bill making abortion after 20 weeks illegal.

He cites data that less than 2 percent of abortions occur that late, but he adds the bill will only make exceptions for the health or life of the mother, not for rape or incest.

"They would have had the opportunity to do that choice far before this,” Mayberry says. “This is halfway through a pregnancy so they were aware of that rape and incest much, much earlier."

Planned Parenthood responded with a statement today:

“Whether or not you agree with a woman's decision to end her pregnancy, most people believe that a woman should have the right to make that decision with her doctor and her family, not politicians."

But some politicians appear ready to act this year.

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