LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— One of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country has now gone into effect in Texas.
Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert (R), says he wants the exact same bill to become law in Arkansas.
Texas’s version of the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ makes it illegal to have an abortion after six weeks. Doctors say this is before most women even know they are pregnant.
Senator Rapert says his goal is to end all abortions in Arkansas, including in cases of rape and incest.
“What Texas has done is absolutely awesome,” said Senator Rapert.
Rapert says he commends lawmakers in Texas for passing the legislation.
He has sponsored numerous anti-abortion bills and laws in Arkansas, including a law introduced earlier this year that bans abortions in the state, except to save the life of the mother.
However, the law was temporarily blocked by a federal judge.
“We need it because federal judges are trying to strike down our laws time and time again,” said Rapert. “We need to do this before our regular session ends in September.”
Instead of state officials enforcing the law in Texas, it allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman get the procedure. Law experts say, providers, relatives, and even an Uber driver who takes a woman to an abortion clinic could be taken to court.
“It just makes no sense– it’s like how do you enforce that,” said Cara Connors, an Arkansas lawyer.
Connors says the bill in Texas is unconstitutional and goes against Roe vs. Wade.
“You’re deputizing private individuals to make a decision that the state is required to protect,” Connors said.
Rapert’s comments have caused some on the other side of the issue to voice their concerns.
“It’s disheartening, it’s sickening, it’s maddening for all women,” said Nicole Hart, Interim Chair of the Democratic Party.
Hart says if Texas’s version of the bill is brought up in a similar fashion before the Arkansas legislature, Democrats are prepared to fight back.
“We will be doing the work on the back end– building out those networks to give people a platform to use their voice on this issue,” said Hart.