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Arkansas Abortion Laws

Summary

Abortion is illegal in Arkansas unless necessary to save the mother’s life.

Introduction

After a period of prohibition, abortion became legalized following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. At that time, states retained the right to regulate the procedure. 

In 2021, Arkansas enacted Act 309, 5-61-401, et seq., which prohibits all abortions save those necessary to save the life of the mother. A federal judge enjoined (prohibited) enforcement of that statute on July 20, 2021.

Then, on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, returning the issue of abortion regulation to the states.

Legal challenges to abortion restrictions continue to be brought. This area of the law is highly fluid.

Arkansas Abortion Laws at a Glance

The following chart contains an overview of abortion laws in Arkansas, with links to related sources. Please 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:

Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

“Abortion” means the act of using, prescribing, administering, procuring, or selling of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the purpose to terminate the pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the termination by any of those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child, except to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency

Charges and Penalties for Unlawful Abortion It's an unclassified felony to perform an illegal abortion punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or imprisonment not to exceed ten (10) years, or both.
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 a 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 the state.

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 its 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.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

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