According to the state Sen. Trent Garner, who introduced the bill and is its main sponsor, the measure aims to limit Down's syndrome discrimination by making it illegal for a physician to perform or attempt to perform abortion based solely on a test that indicates Down's syndrome, a prenatal diagnosis or other reason to believe that an unborn child has the condition.
"I decided to push the bill out to protect those who were born differently," Garner told CNN. "Through the catastrophic abortion procedure, we lose valuable and special people from society."
Under the proposed law, a doctor should inform patients about the law, ask a pregnant woman if she is aware of test results and request medical records. He or she is forbidden to perform abortion for at least two weeks to get the records. There are warnings: A doctor can go through the procedure if the pregnancy damages the mother's or the unborn child's life or if it is a result of rape or incest.
This bill is not the first of its kind
Karen Musick, a board member of the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, a grassroots organization, says the Arkansas climate around abortion makes it harder for women who are already struggling with the decision to interrupt an unborn child.
The bill has nothing to do with the value of people living with Down syndrome. It does not improve the access to care or assistance with the enormous economic and structural costs needed to bring up a child with special needs, "the group said in a statement. 19659003] The group said it was not prepared to bring proceedings "There are too many [bills] to focus on," said Musick.
Sen. Garner, a Republican, says he feels convinced that the bill will pass in the House and be signed in law by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor will testify on the bill next week Wednesday.
CNN's Tony Marco contributed to this report. 19659017]