Arkansas Bill Regarding Physician Qualifications and Viability (SB 448)
This law was last updated on Sep 3, 2019
SB 448 requires physicians to have certain qualifications in order to perform abortions; and repeal the presumption of viability of a fetus at the 25th week of pregnancy.
The bill requires any person performing or inducing an abortion to be licensed to practice medicine in the state of Arkansas and be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology.
A violation this provision would be a class D felony and may result in the revocation or suspension of the professional license of an abortion facility or physician.
Current state law defines “viable fetus” to mean a fetus that can live outside the womb.
The bill removes that definition and replaces it with “viability,” which the bill defines as:
[…]the state of fetal development when, in the judgment of the physician based on the particular facts of the case before him or her and in light of the most advanced medical technology and information available to him or her, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the unborn child outside the body of the mother, with or without artificial life support.
Current state law presumes that a fetus is viable at the 25th week of pregnancy.
The bill repeals this provision.
2/26/19 – Introduced.
3/14/19 – Passed the Senate by a 29-5 vote.
3/28/19 – Passed the House by a 70-15 vote.
4/5/19 – Signed into law by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
8/6/19 – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas Western Division granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect while the case proceeds.