Abortion in Arkansas

Abortion access in Arkansas was dramatically reduced in 2022 due to a new state law. This article provides background on what the law entails, the limited exceptions, the impact on those seeking care, and options for where to turn if you need an abortion.

Background on Arkansas Abortion Ban

Old Laws Previously in Effect

Prior to 2022, abortion in Arkansas was legal up to 22 weeks into pregnancy. Certain restrictions did apply, like mandatory waiting periods, biased counseling requirements, limitations on Medicaid funding, and more.

New Law Passed in 2022

In 2021, Arkansas passed SB6, a near-total abortion ban. It was set to take effect in July 2022. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, a judge allowed it to take effect immediately on June 24, 2022.

Date Ban Went Into Effect

June 24, 2022 is when the near-total abortion ban took effect in Arkansas.

What the Ban Entails

The 2022 Arkansas ban makes performing or aiding an abortion a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The only exception is to save the life of the pregnant patient in a medical emergency.

Limited Exceptions to the Ban

Abortion is completely banned, except in cases where an abortion is deemed necessary to save the pregnant person’s life in an emergency. There are no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal anomalies.

Impact of the Ban on Access to Abortion

Need to Travel Out-of-State for Care

Unless their life is endangered by continuing pregnancy, those seeking abortion in Arkansas have two options:

For many, travel simply isn’t feasible due to the time and costs involved.

Waiting Periods in Other States

Some states require waiting periods between initial appointment and procedure. This necessitates extra travel or extended hotel stays.

Parental Consent Laws in Other States

In many states, if you are under 18 your parent/guardian must give permission for an abortion. Seeking a judicial bypass is complex but may be possible.

Assistance Available

If travel is needed, assistance may be available with:

Financial Support
  • Covering medical bills
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Child care
  • Lost wages
Travel and Logistics Help
  • Ride sharing
  • Clinic pickups
  • Navigating paperwork
  • Arranging accommodations

Note assistance often requires having an appointment already scheduled.

Legal Overview After the Ruling

Current Legal Status of Abortion in Arkansas

  • Abortions are felonies punishable by large fines + prison time
  • Only exception is threat to pregnant person’s life

Exemptions Under the Law

Exemptions to save the life of the pregnant person are narrowly defined. Doctors face scrutiny of medical judgement for invoking the exemption.

What to Do If You Need an Abortion

Finding an Out-of-State Provider

If travel is feasible, first step is identifying an appropriate provider. Useful resources:


  • Seek reputable, licensed providers
  • Consider gestational ages treated
  • Check location accessibility


Recapping Situation in Arkansas

In 2022, Arkansas passed a near-total abortion ban. Abortions now require out-of-state travel and are extremely limited.


Are abortions allowed if a fetus has severe anomalies?

No. Under Arkansas’ abortion ban, there are no exceptions for fetal anomalies or other health conditions.

Is abortion legal in neighboring states?

It varies. For example, abortion remains legal in Illinois but will be banned in neighboring Missouri with no exceptions for rape or incest once their trigger law takes effect.

Can I get financial help traveling out of state?

Yes. If you secure an appointment, organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds and the Brigid Alliance can provide assistance covering travel and procedure costs.

What if I can’t travel out of state?

Sadly, your options become extremely limited. You’ll have to either legally attempt to self-manage an abortion using pills, continue the pregnancy, or pursue underground resources. All of those options come with risks. Reach out for confidential, judgment-free support to weigh the decisions ahead.

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