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Gov. Asa Hutchinson defends abortion laws, weighs in on recent primary results

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking with reporters Monday in his office at the state Capitol.
Michael Hibblen
Gov. Asa Hutchinson says overturning Roe v. Wade will allow the states to decide how to handle abortion. He said Arkansas' trigger laws do need adjustments.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended Arkansas’ potential outlawing of abortion Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Arkansas’ trigger law if Roe v. Wade is overturned would only permit abortion in order to save the life of the mother. Hutchinson said making exceptions for rape or incest does not reflect the will of most Arkansans.

“Those are heartbreaking circumstances and that’s where the last few years when we passed these trigger laws we’re expressing a belief,” Hutchinson said. “We’re trying to turn that authority to the states and to reduce abortions, but whenever you see real-life circumstances like that the debate is going to continue and the will of the people may not or may change.”

The state’s attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, has said she will immediately certify the Arkansas law passed three years ago that makes nearly all abortions illegal if Roe is overturned. A dozen other states have similar trigger laws. The Supreme Court is expected to provide an official ruling this summer.

2020 Election

CNN’s Dana Bash also asked Hutchinson, who is the chair of the National Governors Association, about his thoughts on Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano winning that state's Republican gubernatorial nomination.

According to NPR, Mastriano has been subpoenaed by the U.S House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S Capitol. Mastriano participated in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, was won by President Joe Biden by a margin of 1.2%, according to Politico’s 2020 election map.

Most notably, Mastriano marched with protestors on the day of the attack. When asked by Bash if Mastriano’s nomination alarmed him, Hutchinson avoided the question.

“Well what’s important is that our candidates for governor of every state run on the future and problem solving on issues, which will be inflation, cost of gasoline, crime that we’re struggling with across the country,” Hutchinson said. “If you spend your time dealing with the past and the election results of the last year then you’re not going to be in a good position.”

Hutchinson says he hopes Mastriano wins, but said he wants to see how the campaign progresses.

Last year, Hutchinson said President Biden’s electoral win was legitimate and Republicans shouldn’t focus on claims of the election being stolen.

Ronak Patel was a reporter for KUAR News focusing on state and local government.
David Monteith worked as a reporter for KUAR News between 2015 and July 2022.
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