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Abortion amendment approved by Arkansas Attorney General

Ballot themes on ballots this November include marijuana, elections, education, guns, tobacco, minimum wage and the death penalty.
Meg Kelly
If passed, the amendment will make abortion legal in the first 18 weeks after fertilization.

A group trying to legalize abortion in Arkansas has made it through the first hurdle.

On Tuesday, Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin certified the popular name and ballot title for the Arkansas Abortion Amendment. If passed, the law will protect abortion within 18 weeks of fertilization, or in cases of rape, incest or if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother.

The amendment was brought forth by a group called Arkansans for Limited Government. Dr. Hershey Gardner is the group's chair. This is their fourth attempt to get the amendment language approved; the last attempts were struck down for vague language.

Arkansas for Limited Government said they are “especially grateful to the AG's staff, whose professionalism and expertise emblematizes true public service.”

If the group wants to put the amendment on the ballot they have to collect more than 90,000 signatures from Arkansans across the state.

“The organization is implementing a statewide effort to collect the required signatures in order to place the Amendment on November’s ballot,” the group said in a statement.

This comes as attorneys Nate Bell and David Couch have filed a lawsuit against the attorney general at the Arkansas Supreme Court. The suit alleges that the attorney general is violating the Arkansas Constitution by blocking citizen-led ballot initiatives. Griffin has always contended that he is following the legal process by blocking ballot amendments that would not stand up in court.

In a statement Tuesday, he reiterated this claim.

“I am and have always been strongly pro-life, but the law does not allow me to consider my own personal views,” he said. “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.”

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.