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Ark. Legislature Sends Parental Involvement, Funding Restriction Bills to Governor

Ark. Legislature Sends Parental Involvement, Funding Restriction Bills to Governor

March 30, 2015 — Arkansas lawmakers on Thursday advanced two antiabortion-rights measures (HB 1424, SB 569) to Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) for consideration, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Parental Involvement Bill

The state Senate on Thursday voted 24-1 to approve a measure that would increase parental involvement restrictions for minors seeking abortion care (Wickline, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/27). The Arkansas House passed the measure earlier this month. The bill would require that the adult consenting to a minor's abortion provide identification verifying his or her identity as the minor's parent or guardian. The bill permits physicians to perform abortions immediately if the minor has a medical emergency. However, physicians would have to inform the minor's parent or guardian of the procedure within 24 hours afterward.

In addition, the bill would require minors who petition a judge for a waiver of the requirements to do so in their county of residency. Currently, the state permits minors seeking a judicial bypass to do so at any county circuit court (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/24).

Bill To Block Public Funding for Women's Health Clinics

Also on Thursday, the Arkansas House voted 70-8 to approve a bill that would prohibit health centers that offer abortions or provide abortion referrals from receiving state or federal funds, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/26).

The state Senate approved the measure earlier this month.

Specifically, the measure would bar the state from distributing grants to individuals or entities that offer abortion services, counseling or referrals, or that have affiliations with such individuals or entities. The measure would not apply to funds provided through the state's Medicaid program. In addition, the bill would not affect funding for medical schools, universities or hospitals (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/11).