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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has certified the popular name and ballot title for an abortion amendment that could appear on the 2024 ballot.
Supporters of the Arkansas Abortion Amendment may now begin collecting the 90,704 signatures required as the next step in the ballot inclusion process. The signatures must be collected by July 5 and turned in to the AG’s office for certification.
The most recent draft was the third time the proposal had been submitted to the AG’s office.
In the opinion explaining certification, Griffin cautioned that the measure could still be challenged and possibly removed from the ballot in court.
If voters support the amendment, access to abortion will become part of the Arkansas Constitution. The measure would forbid any laws from being passed to restrict abortion in cases of rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly or to protect the life or well-being of the mother within the first 18 weeks after conception.
After prior submissions, the backers of the new measure were asked to make minor changes to the proposed amendment to clarify fetal versus gestational age and its impact on current state laws, including the state’s current abortion ban.
Reaction to the Tuesday certification came from both sides of the Arkansas abortion debate.
Hershey Garner, the chairman of Arkansans for Limited Government, a co-sponsor of the proposal, thanked the AG’s office for its professionalism.
“Thank you to the Office of the Attorney General for their thorough feedback and certification of our amendment language,” Garner said. “We are especially grateful to the staff; their professionalism and expertise emblematizes true public service. And to the people of Arkansas — the fate of this work is in our hands now.”
Garner said the signature-gathering campaign would kick off with a rally in Fayetteville on Jan. 28.
In a statement released after the decision, Griffin noted that his personal views on the matter have to come second to his role as attorney general.
“When reviewing proposed ballot initiatives, I follow an 80-year-old process,” Griffin said. “I am and have always been strongly pro-life, but the law does not allow me to consider my own personal views. I am guided by the law and the law alone. I routinely certify proposals I personally oppose. Conversely, I routinely reject proposals I personally support.”
Family Council of Arkansas President Jerry Cox called the proposed amendment “radical.”
“This is a radical amendment legalizing abortion in a way Arkansas has never seen before. It writes abortion into the Arkansas Constitution,” Cox said in a statement. “It erases virtually all of Arkansas’ pro-life laws, and it allows abortion on demand without restriction through the first eighteen weeks of pregnancy.”
Cox went on to claim that if this amendment passed, as many as 3,000 unborn children could be aborted in Arkansas each year.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.