Take Action
State Laws

Arkansas


Political Information

Executive (Governor)

Anti-choice

Senate

Anti-choice

House

Anti-choice

Abortion-Care Policies

Abortion Providers

Abortion Providers: Restrictions

Arkansas imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which place medically unnecessary and costly requirements on doctors and can decrease the availability of abortion care for women.  Arkansas has such regulations, including:

Arkansas requires any facility which provides abortion care, including medication abortion, to 10 or more women in any month to obtain a state "abortion facility" license.  Ark. Code Ann. § 20-9-302(a) (Enacted 1983; Last Amended 2017); Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities § 3.  

An "abortion facility" must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme that includes a variety of administrative, physical-plant, record-keeping, personnel, and patient-care requirements.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities §§ 1-12. The physical-plant requirements include such things as a required number of rooms with specific room dimensions, which are unrelated to medical necessity.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities §§ 12 (D)(1), (E)(13-17).

The state has extensive warrantless access to abortion facilities.  "Any authorized representative of the Arkansas Department of Health shall have the right to enter upon or into the premises of any Abortion Facility at any time in order to make whatever inspection it deems necessary" to ensure compliance with regulations.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities § 4(I).  The regulations offer no protections for patient privacy or confidentiality. Abortion facilities must be inspected at least annually and include, without limitation, the facility, equipment, conditions, a sample of procedures, techniques, medical records, informed consent signatures, and parental-consent signatures. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-9-302(a) (Enacted 1983; Last Amended 2017).

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which require doctors to obtain medically unnecessary additional licenses, needlessly convert their practices to mini-hospitals at great expense, or provide the procedure only in hospitals, an impossibility in many parts of the country.

Arkansas requires that any procedure after the 20th week of pregnancy be provided in a licensed hospital.  Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities, § 3.  Surgical-abortion providers must be located within 30 minutes of a hospital.  No exception is made for rural areas. Ark. State Bd. of Health, Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities § 4c.

Arkansas also requires that in the case of medication abortion, the dispensing/prescribing physician "who contracts to handle emergencies" have admitting and gynecological/surgical privileges at a hospital designated to handle medication-abortion related emergencies. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-1504(d)(2) (Enacted 2015).

The state also added a requirement on how an abortion clinic must dispose of the products of conception, including giving the patient the right to choose disposition and who is authorized to take possession. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-17-801 to -802, H.B.1566, 91st Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (2017).    

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Arkansas prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state may provide an abortion.  Ark. Code Ann. § 5-61-101 (Enacted 1983; Last Amended 2017).


Abortion Rights

Post-Viability Ban

Arkansas’ post-viability restriction states that no abortion may be provided after viability unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health or if a minor’s pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  A fetus shall be presumed not to be viable prior to the end of the 25th week of pregnancy.  The physician must use the available method most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus unless it poses a greater risk to the woman’s life or health than another available method.  The physician shall take all reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of the fetus unless they pose an increased risk to the woman’s life or health.  A second physician must attend a post-viability abortion to provide medical attention to the fetus.  Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-701 to -707 (Enacted 1969; Last Amended 1999).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion, such as Arkansas’, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman’s life and health.


Near-Total Abortion Ban

Arkansas has not repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban, which is unconstitutional and unenforceable.  

The ban provides that any person who administers or prescribes any medication with the intent to induce an abortion or employs other means to induce an abortion will be fined up to $1000 and imprisoned for one to five years.  Ark. Code Ann. § 5-61-102 (Enacted 1969; Last Amended 1999).  A court held that this ban is unconstitutional as applied to physicians and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement against physicians. Smith v. Bentley, 493 F. Supp. 916 (W.D. Ark. 1980).  


Abortion Bans Throughout Pregnancy: Ban by Week

Arkansas outlaws abortion after 20 weeks, without an adequate exception to protect women’s health or for cases of fetal anomaly.  Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-1405 (Enacted 2013).   

Arkansas’ law makes abortion after 20 weeks a felony, unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.  Physicians in violation of the law would also be subject to up to six years imprisonment and/or fines up to $500, and disciplinary action which may include license suspension or revocation.  In addition, the law allows the father or the pregnant woman to bring a civil suit for damages against the physician.  It also allows the woman, her parent, her guardian, her spouse, her sibling, her other health-care providers, a prosecuting attorney with jurisdiction, or the state attorney general to file for injunctive relief blocking the abortion provider from providing future abortion care after 20 weeks.  Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-1407 to -1409 (Enacted 2013).


Abortion Bans Throughout Pregnancy: Procedure Ban

Arkansas outlaws a safe second-trimester abortion procedure with no exception to protect a woman’s health.  Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-1201 to -1206 (Enacted 2009).  Arkansas’ law makes certain previability, second-trimester abortion procedures a felony, unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life.  Physicians in violation of the law are also subject to disciplinary action by the State Medical Board, including fines from $25,000 to $100,000 or more, license suspension for up to one year, or license revocation.  In addition, the law allows the parents of the pregnant woman, if she is under age 18, or the husband to bring a civil suit for damages against the physician.  Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-1201 to -1206 (Enacted 2009).

A court held that an earlier version of Arkansas’ ban was unconstitutionally overbroad and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.  Little Rock Family Planning Servs., P.A. v. Jegley, 192 F.3d 794 (8th Cir. 1999).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman’s health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.


Abortion Bans Throughout Pregnancy: Ban by Week

Arkansas outlaws abortion after 12 weeks*, without adequate exception to protect women’s health. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-1304 (Enacted 2013).

Arkansas’ law requires any person authorized to provide abortion services to perform an abdominal ultrasound to determine if the fetus has a detectable heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, the woman must be given written notice of that heartbeat and the statistical probability of bringing her pregnancy to term. The woman must then sign a form acknowledging that she received that notice. If the heartbeat is detected and the pregnancy is 12 weeks or later, the abortion is prohibited. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-1304 (Enacted 2013).

The law does not apply to pregnancies that result from rape or incest. The law also does not apply when an abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death, to prevent a serious and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, or when a highly lethal fetal disorder is detected.  Physicians found in violation of the law by the Arkansas Medical Board may have their medical license revoked. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-1304 to -1305 (Enacted 2013).

*The Arkansas law measures gestation based on a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP), in contrast to most states that measure post-fertilization.  Using the LMP standard usually adds two weeks to the gestational age; as a result, this law likely bans abortion at 10 weeks.

The law has been permanently blocked. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued a preliminary injunction against the law soon after its passage after pro-choice activists challenged the law. Edwards v. Beck, E.D. Ark., No. 4:13-cv-00224, *12 (prelim. inj. dated 5/28/2013).  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling and permanently blocked the ban. The court reaffirmed that this law is blatantly unconstitutional because it completely disregards the viability requirement articulated in Roe v. Wade.  Edwards v. Beck, 2015 WL 3395549, (8th Cir. May 27, 2015). The Arkansas attorney general petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling and allow the law to go into effect. The Supreme Court denied the cert petition, thusly declining to take up the case.  


Abortion Bans Throughout Pregnancy: Procedure Ban

Arkansas outlaws D&E (dilation and evacuation) procedures unless necessary to save the woman’s life, and only includes a narrow and inadequate exception to protect the woman’s health. The D&E procedure is the most commonly used method for second-trimester abortion. Its illegality would cause women to have to undergo more invasive and potentially more dangerous procedures. The law gives authority to bring a cause of action against the doctor, the father of the pregnancy if he is married to the woman, and the woman’s parents or legal guardians if she is a minor. A cause of action to block the doctor from providing abortion care for any future patient can be brought by the woman, her spouse, parent, or legal guardian, or a current or former licensed health-care provider, no matter how far removed from the woman’s life that person may be. A doctor who violates the law is subject to up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Ark Code Ann. §§ 20-16-1802 to -1805, H.B. 1032, 91st Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Ark. 2017). Pro-choice litigators have brought forth a case against this law and other anti-choice provisions. Fortunately, a judge has temporarily enjoined the law—blocking it from going into effect. Hopkins v. Jegley et al (June 2017).  


Reasons-Based Ban: Race- and/or Sex Selection

Arkansas bans abortion if sought solely for reasons of the sex of the pregnancy. The only exception to the ban is to protect the life of the woman. Arkansas goes even further than other states with similar laws by requiring the doctor to ask the woman if she knows the sex of the pregnancy. If the woman responds in the affirmative, the doctor must inform the woman that a sex-selection abortion is illegal, and request the medical records directly relating to the entire history of her pregnancy. The abortion will not be provided until "reasonable time and effort" is spent on obtaining the medical records. If this law is enjoined by the courts it is stipulated that it shall only apply to post-viability abortion. A physician who provides such an abortion is subject to a misdemeanor penalty, monetary damages, and medical license suspension or revocation. The law also includes a right of action for the woman, the woman’s parents if she is a minor, or guardian if she is adjudicated incompetent—allowing them to sue the physician. Ark Code Ann. §§ 20-16-1903 to -1906, H.B.1434, 91st Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Ark. 2017).

Pro-choice litigators have brought forth a case against this law and other anti-choice provisions. Fortunately, a judge has temporarily enjoined the law—blocking it from going into effect. Hopkins v. Jegley et al (June 2017).  


Biased Counseling

Biased Counseling

A woman may not obtain an abortion until the attending physician, referring physician, or physician’s agent describes during an in-person consultation:  (1) the abortion procedure; (2) the immediate and long-term medical risks of the proposed procedure; (3) the probable gestational age of the pregnancy; (4) the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the pregnancy; (5) the medical risks associated with carrying the pregnancy to term; (6) and provides the name of the physician who will provide the abortion; (7) information about anti-Rh immune globulin therapy; (8) and information on the reversal of medication abortion.

For abortion services provided after the fetus has reached a gestational age of 20 weeks, the physician must tell the woman that anesthesia is available to alleviate possible fetal pain.

In addition, at least 48 hours prior to the abortion, the woman must receive a state-mandated lecture by the attending physician, referring physician, or physician’s agent, in person or by telephone, which may be provided by a tape recording, that must include:  (1) that medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (2) that the "father" is liable for child support even if he has offered to pay for the abortion; (3) that she has the option to review state-prepared materials, in printed or electronic form, that describe the fetus and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion; and (4) that if she chooses to view the state-prepared materials in printed form, they shall be mailed to her by a method chosen by her and that if she chooses to view them via the internet, she shall be informed of the internet website address prior to and in no event on the same day as the abortion.

The state-prepared materials must:  (1) describe with realistic and appropriate pictures or drawings the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus at two-week gestational increments from the time when a woman can be known to be pregnant to full term, including the possibility of survival; (2) provide a comprehensive list of geographically indexed public and private agencies and services, including adoption agencies, to assist women through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the child is dependent, including contact information, or include a toll-free 24-hour telephone number that may be called to obtain the list orally; (3) describe, with objective information, the commonly employed abortion methods, including medical risks, the "possible detrimental psychological effects" of abortion, and the medical risks associated with carrying a pregnancy to term; (4) that the "unborn human individual" that the pregnant woman is carrying possesses a heartbeat; and (5) a statement that it may be possible to reverse the effects of medication abortion, and that information on reversing a medication abortion is available in materials prepared by the health department. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-901 to -908, -1101 to -1111 (Enacted 2001, Repealed and replaced 2015); Ark. Code Ann. §20-16-1703 (Enacted 2015).

The state-prepared materials include enlarged color photographs of fetuses.  Ark. Dep’t Of Health, Abortion, Making A Decision (undated).  Arkansas law also requires all abortion providers who use ultrasound equipment in the provision of abortion services to tell women that they may view an ultrasound image of their "unborn child," and to place a signed acceptance or refusal in a woman’s medical file for three (3) years.  Any physician who fails to inform a woman that she may view the ultrasound may be subject to disciplinary action by the Arkansas State Medical Board.  Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-602 (Enacted 2003).


Mandatory Delays

Mandatory Delay

Prior to receiving abortion care, a woman must wait 48 hours between the time she receives biased counseling and when she can get the procedure. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-16-901 to -908, -1101 to -1111 (Enacted 2001, Repealed and replaced 2015); Ark. Code Ann. §20-16-1703 (Enacted 2015).


Insurance Coverage & Abortion

Prohibits Abortion Coverage in the Insurance Exchange

Does Arkansas expressly prohibit plans in its state exchange from covering abortion services?

Yes. Health-insurance policies offered in the state health-insurance exchange may not include abortion coverage, with exceptions only to save a woman’s life, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Nothing in the law prohibits the purchase of abortion coverage outside the exchange through an optional rider for which an additional premium is paid.  However, insurers are not required to offer such riders and there is no evidence that such separate policies exist. (Even if they did exist, offering women the "option" to pay for separate abortion coverage is a false promise because no one plans for an unplanned pregnancy.)  Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-156 (Enacted 2013).


Prohibits Abortion Coverage for Public Employees

Does Arkansas expressly prohibit insurance plans for public employees from covering abortion services?

Yes Health-insurance policies provided to state employees may not include abortion coverage, with an exception only to save a woman’s life. Amendment 68 of the Arkansas Constitution prohibits the use of public funds to pay for abortion care, with an exception only to save a woman’s life.  Nothing in the law prohibits the purchase of abortion coverage through an optional rider for which an additional premium is paid.  However, insurers are not required to offer such riders and there is no evidence that such separate policies exist. (Even if they did exist, offering women the "option" to pay for separate abortion coverage is a false promise because no one plans for an unplanned pregnancy.)

Based on Amendment 68, parties to a lawsuit agreed that the University of Arkansas’ employee group health-insurance plan would cover abortion services only when necessary to save a woman’s life.  Ark. Const. amend. 68, §1 (Initiative Petition Approved 1988); Foshee v. Sugg, No. E-IJ97-4325 (Ark. Cir. Ct. Feb. 6, 1998) (dismissed).

Another lawsuit based on Amendment 68 sought to prohibit Pulaski County from continuing to offer employee health-insurance coverage for abortion in cases of rape and incest.  The county changed insurance policies and now provides coverage only for abortion in cases of life endangerment.  Ehlebracht v. Villines, No. IJ2000-2121 (Ark. Cir. Ct. Dec. 4, 2002) (dismissed without prejudice).


Supports Insurance Coverage of Contraception

Arkansas law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception.

What is required?  If a health-insurance plan provides coverage for prescription medication, it must provide coverage for Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription contraceptivon, except emergency contraception (EC).  

To which insurance plans does the law apply?  All individual or group health-insurance plans, policies, or contracts issued, delivered, or renewed in the state that provide coverage for prescription medication.  

Does the law contain a refusal clause, allowing certain employers and/or insurers to refuse to provide or pay for contraceptive coverage?  Yes.    

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Religious employers for whom prescription contraception is contrary to their religious tenets.  

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may purchase a health-insurance plan, policy, or contract that excludes coverage for contraception.  

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  Yes.  The law broadly defines the term "religious employer" as a non-profit organization that has as one of its primary purposes the inculcation of religious values and primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets.  This exemption allows a broad range of organizations engaged in secular activities to deny women insurance coverage for contraception.  

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.  

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.  

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause?  No.  

Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-1101-1104 (Enacted 2005).


Low-Income Women & Abortion

Restricts Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion

Arkansas prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the provider obtains prior authorization and the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman’s life, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Ark. Medicaid Physician Provider Manual, Physician/Independent Lab/CRNA/Radiation Therapy Center, Program Coverage, § 251.220 (Rev. Aug. 1, 2004), at https://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/Download/provider/amprcd/Manuals/PHYSICN/PHYSICN_II.doc;  Division of Medical Servs., Certification Statement for Abortion, DMS -2698 (Rev. Aug. 2007) at https://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/download/provider/provdocs/forms/dms-2698.doc.

An invalid and enjoined provision of the Arkansas Constitution provides that no public funds may be used to pay for an abortion unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life.  Ark. Const. amend. 68, § 1.

A court held that this provision conflicts with federal law prohibiting participating states from excluding abortion from the Medicaid program in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest, and has affirmed a lower court’s injunction prohibiting its enforcement to the extent that it conflicts with federal law.  Little Rock Family Planning Servs., P.A. v. Dalton, 60 F.3d 497 (8th Cir. 1995), rev’d in part, 516 U.S. 474 (1996).

The Arkansas Supreme Court also concluded that this constitutional provision is unenforceable insofar as it conflicts with federal law.  Hodges v. Huckabee, 995 S.W.2d 341 (Ark. 1999).


Young Women & Abortion

Parental Consent

Arkansas law restricts young women’s access to abortion.  

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18 who is under the care, custody, and control of her parents.

What is required – parental consent or parental notice?  Consent.

Who must be notified?  One parent.  

Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead?  No.

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion until the physician obtains the written and notarized consent of one of her parents.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman’s health is threatened?  Yes, but only if a medical emergency exists. A medical emergency is defined as a medical condition of the young woman that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve her life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function."

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  She must secure a court order finding by clear and convincing evidence either that: (1) she is sufficiently mature and well informed to make her own decision; or (2) she is a victim of physical or sexual abuse by one or both of her parents; or (3) parental consent is not in the best interest of the minor.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  Yes, the consenting parent must appear in person to provide the attending physician with proof of identification.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.

Other information about the law:  None.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-801 to -810 (Enacted 1989, Last Amended 2015).


Family-Planning Policies

Insurance Coverage & Contraception

No state measure.

Low-Income Women & Contraception

No state measure.

Emergency Contraception

EC in the ER

Arkansas law requires that sexual-assault survivors receive information about emergency contraception (EC) in hospital emergency rooms.  The law requires Arkansas hospitals to amend existing protocols to include informing sexual-assault survivors about the proper use and availability of EC as a means of preventing pregnancy.  

This law includes a refusal clause that allows any health-care professional to refuse to provide information about EC on the basis of religious or moral objections.

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-13-1401 to -1403 (Enacted 2007).


Other Important Issues

Clinic Protections

No state measure.

Fake Health Centers

State Refers to Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Arkansas law refers women to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). In connection with the state’s biased-counseling and mandatory-delay law, when a woman tells a health-care provider she is considering abortion, the provider must give her a state-maintained list of facilities that will satisfy the law’s mandate. CPCs are included on the list without disclaimer of their biased nature and are not distinguished from legitimate health centers. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-1703-1704 (2015), AR H.1578 (enacted 2015).


State has Anti-Choice License Plates

Arkansas law provides for a "Choose Life" license-plate program that funnels money to anti-choice organizations. The program is operated by the state Department of Finance and Administration and drivers are able to purchase the specialty license plate for a fee.  A percentage of the fee is retained by the state to recoup administrative costs; the rest of the funds are directed to Arkansas Right to Life. Ark. Code Ann. § 27-24-1402(03), AR H.2338 (Enacted 2007).


Refusals & Guarantees

Refusals of Medical Care

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Arkansas allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Individuals and hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow?  Allows individuals to refuse to participate in medical procedures that result in an abortion.  Allows hospitals, hospital directors, or governing boards to refuse to permit abortion services within its institution.  The refusal to participate or permit may not be a basis for civil liability or other recriminatory action.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-601 (Enacted 1969).

CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Arkansas allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Physicians, pharmacists, other paramedical personnel, private institutions, and agents or employees of private institutions or physicians, as well as employees of a public institution acting under the direction of a physician.

What does the refusal clause allow?  Physicians, pharmacists, or other paramedical personnel may refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information.  In addition, private institutions or physicians and agents or employees of such institutions or physicians, as well as employees of a public institution acting under the direction of a physician, may refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, and information based on religious or conscientious objection.  The refusal of an institution, employee, agent, or physician may not be the basis for liability.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-304 (Enacted 1973).

INSURACE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although Arkansas law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception, certain employers and/or insurers may require that their plans exclude coverage for contraception.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Religious employers whose religious tenets prohibit use of prescription contraception.

What does the refusal clause allow? A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  Yes.  The law broadly defines the term "religious employer" as a non-profit organization that has as one of its primary purposes the inculcation of religious values and primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets.  This exemption allows a broad range of organizations engaged in secular activities and operating in the public sphere to deny women insurance coverage for contraception.

Must the refusal be in writing?  No.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause? No.

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 23-79-1101 to -1104 (Enacted 2005).


Counseling & Referral Bans

Counseling & Referral Ban

No state funds appropriated to the Department of Health or Department of Education shall be used for abortion referrals or abortion services in public schools. Ark. Code ANN § 6-18-703 (1993); 2018 Ark. Acts 234, 243, 244.

The state shall not distribute or award any grants to an individual or entity that provides abortion services, abortion referrals or counsels in favor of abortion, or to any affiliate of such an entity. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-1602 (2017).


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

Sign the Petition
By taking this action you are affirming your membership in NARAL Pro-Choice America. What's this?