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Hutchinson says Arkansas abortion providers should face ‘criminal penalty,’ not women

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal sentencing for crack and powder cocaine, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday said abortion providers should face criminal penalties for performing the procedure but said women would not be prosecuted in his state for getting an abortion.

In an interview with moderator Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the GOP governor said only doctors who perform an abortion to save the life of a mother would not be prosecuted.

“They have to make those medical judgments, and it’s not the state’s judgment to reconfigure those or rethink those,” Hutchinson said. “The decision that has to be made is whether there’s an [illegal] abortion, and then you go after the provider as a criminal penalty, not the woman.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, Arkansas’s trigger law banning abortions, with an exception only to save the life of the mother, went into effect.

The law makes it illegal to perform an abortion, with violators facing up to 10 years in prison. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Hutchinson on Sunday said the law is meant to “save the unborn baby.”

“You use the power of the state to say, ‘Unless the health of the mother is at risk, let’s carry that child to term,'” the governor said. “When you’re saving life, that’s an appropriate role of the state.”

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