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Arkansas Abortion Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

After a period of prohibition, abortion became legalized following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, although states still retained the right to regulate the procedure. Quite a few states have made the procedure so restrictive that only a couple of clinics operate within their borders. Additionally, many states require waiting periods, counseling sessions, parental consent, and other requirements. Abortion remains a highly controversial topic in most states, although it is technically legal throughout the United States.

2019 Changes to Arkansas Abortion Laws

In March 2019, the governor of Arkansas signed a bill into law that only allows abortions before 18 weeks of pregnancy. The law, HB1439, does have exceptions allowing abortions beyond 18 weeks for medical emergencies and pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

Arkansas also passed SB149 in February 2019, which would automatically make abortion illegal in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned or an amendment is adopted to the U.S. Constitution that gives Arkansas the authority to prohibit abortions.

Note: These laws will be subject to judicial review in state or federal courts. The courts can delay implementation of the laws during the period of judicial review and can ultimately overturn the laws if they're found to be unconstitutional.

Arkansas Abortion Laws at a Glance

The following chart contains an overview of abortion laws in Arkansas, with links to related sources. Pleases remember that while summaries of the law are helpful tools, it's important to also read the statute itself for more detailed information.

Statute(s)

Arkansas Code, Title 5, Subtitle 6, Chapter 61:

Arkansas Code, Title 20, Subtitle 2, Chapter 16:

2019 Abortion Laws:

  • SB 149 (Arkansas Human Life Protection Act)
  • HB 1439 (Prohibiting Abortions After 18 Weeks)
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

Abortions are illegal after the period of quickening, which usually occurs between 16 to 20 weeks into pregnancy.

Charges and Penalties for Unlawful Abortion It's a Class D Felony to perform an illegal abortion punishable by up to six years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.
Consent Requirements

Adults: voluntary and informed consent is required at least 48 hours before the abortion.

Minors: notarized written consent of the pregnant woman and one of her parents or her legal guardian. The consent requirement may be waived if there's an medical emergency or a court order.

Incompetent Person: written notarized consent of her legal guardian.

Physician Licensing Requirements

Physicians must be licensed to practice medicine in state.

It's a Class D felony if a person performs an abortion without the required medical license.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Arkansas Abortion Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information or resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Have Specific Questions About Arkansas Abortion Laws? Talk to a Lawyer

Confronting the question about abortion can be hard on it's own for personal reasons, but it can be even more difficult if you're not sure what the laws are in your state. If you have any questions about the abortion laws in Arkansas, it's best to contact a local health care attorney who can explain how these laws apply to your unique situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.