Arkansas group collects enough signatures for ballot measure blocking abortion bans

An Arkansas organization announced Friday it has collected more than enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot this year that would ensure abortion access up to 18 weeks in the state.

Arkansans for Limited Government said it will deliver more than 100,000 signatures, surpassing the 90,704 needed for placing the amendment to the state constitution on the ballot.

This milestone comes just days after groups in Arizona and Nebraska similarly announced they had collected enough signatures for measures ensuring abortion access could be on their state ballots.

The proposed measure would amend the Arkansas Constitution to explicitly prohibit the state government from being able to “prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion services” in any situation up to 18 weeks of pregnancy.

All abortions are currently banned in Arkansas except for when necessary to save the life of the patient.

“Right now, Arkansas is the most dangerous place in the country to be pregnant. Not only does Arkansas have the highest maternal mortality rate in the nation, nearly half of Arkansas counties are maternity healthcare deserts, meaning they have no obstetric providers or options for delivery care. Arkansas deserves better than that,” Lauren Cowles, Arkansans for Limited Government executive director, said in a statement.

State constitutional amendments to protect abortion access could be voted on in up to 11 states this year including Colorado, Missouri and Florida. Five states are confirmed to have them up for a vote and others are in varying stages of advancing similar measures.

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