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Arkansas Republican proposes bill similar to abortion law in Texas

An Arkansas state senator has introduced a bill that would ban nearly all abortions and create a civil lawsuit provision similar to the Texas abortion law.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — State Senator Jason Rapert has introduced a proposed abortion ban law that is very similar to the one passed in Texas earlier this year.

The bill was introduced during a special session called by Governor Asa Hutchinson to specifically vote on an income tax reduction that could be the largest tax cut in history.

In Rapert's proposed bill, abortions would be banned in Arkansas "except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency."

The law does not make exceptions if a person became pregnant due to incest or rape.

Similar to the Texas law, this bill would allow an individual to bring a civil action against a person or entity who performs an abortion. This would include someone who knowingly helps, which includes paying or reimbursing the costs of an abortion "regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed."

The proposed law would allow the individual to sue for at least $10,000 in statutory damages for each abortion that was performed. The individual would have at least four years after the abortion to file the civil lawsuit.

Rapert signaled in September that he would file the bill after the United States Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to stay in place in a 5-4 ruling.

"It's all a matter of political will in Arkansas," Rapert said on Twitter. "Do we really want to save babies or not. We now have a tool to ensure our will is carried out."

The bill does not authorize charging or convicting a woman with any criminal offense in the death of their unborn child.

Earlier this year, Gov. Hutchinson signed a near-total abortion ban into Arkansas law.

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