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State Restrictions Increasing Demand for Abortion Medication

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021   

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas enacted twenty restrictions on abortion during this year's legislative session, more than any other state, and a recent study shows restrictions such as these are helping to drive demand for abortion medication nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration approved medication to be mailed to women during the pandemic.

Karen Ricketts, board member of the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said mounting obstacles and the prospect of Roe v. Wade being challenged in an upcoming Supreme Court case have rural advocacy groups worried.

"A lot of women don't get to make the decisions that best meet their needs or their families' needs, because of these bills," Ricketts asserted.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and other groups filed a lawsuit last month against a law that bans abortion in all cases except when the health of the mother is in danger. The law has no exception for rape or incest. It's been called the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

Ricketts noted the Arkansas law is more restrictive than the 15-week Mississippi abortion ban being considered by the Supreme Court. She added state lawmakers also are pushing voter-suppression laws.

"I think we're making progress, but again, this last election in 2020, Arkansas still has one of the lowest voter turnouts," Ricketts recounted.

Arkansas has enacted several voter restrictions this year, including bills that limit the absentee ballot return period, and ban anyone except voters from coming within 100 feet of a polling place, including volunteers distributing food and water to voters in long lines.


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