Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin temporarily foiled abortion activists this week when he rejected their attempt to put a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy on the 2024 statewide ballot.
In a letter to the petitioners at Arkansans for Limited Government, Griffin warned that the “Arkansas Reproductive Healthcare Amendment” proposal was far too broad and vague to qualify for certification.
“Having reviewed the text of your proposed constitutional amendment, as well as your proposed popular name and ballot title, I must reject your popular name and ballot title due to ambiguities in the text of your proposed measure that prevent me from ensuring that the ballot title you have submitted, or any ballot title I would substitute, is not misleading,” Griffin wrote.
Arkansas law currently bans abortion except when it’s deemed necessary to save the life of the mother. The state constitution’s 68th amendment also says Arkansas “is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution.”
The petitioners, however, seek to nullify both the law and the amendment by demanding that the state “not prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict access to abortion within 18 weeks of conception, or in cases of rape, incest, in the event of a fatal fetal anomaly, or when abortion is needed to protect the pregnant female’s life or health.”
Griffin said the use of the word “access” in the first section of the ballot title lacks “clarity” and is “misleading.”
He also took issue with the term “health,” which was likely left deliberately undefined by the activists who submitted the proposal.
As demonstrated by constitutional amendment campaigns in other states like Nebraska, “health,” if not specified as physical, could easily be weaponized by abortionists to justify abortions for financial, emotional, familial, mental, or other reasons.
“Because the text of your proposed measure is unclear on these matters, I cannot ensure
your ballot title is a fair summary,” Griffin noted.
The petitioners did attempt to define “fatal fetal anomaly” as “a fetal condition diagnosed before birth that, in the physician’s good faith medical judgment, is incompatible with life outside the womb and for which medical intervention would be futile,” but Griffin said that definition still fails to meet the level of precision required to warrant a statewide vote.
“The core meaning of this phrase seems clear enough—that the fetus would be unable to survive outside the womb. Yet your use of the phrase ‘incompatible with life outside the womb’ suggests you may intend to cover more situations,” he noted.
In addition, Griffin flagged sections prohibiting the state from infringing “on the individual’s decision-making” for “internal contradiction” and “possible redundancy” that would likely confuse and mislead voters.
He concluded the letter by instructing the activists to “redesign” the amendment, rename the proposal, and change the ballot language to accurately reflect their aims before reapplying for certification.
Fighting against confusing ballot language is one of the first steps red states’ must take in fortifying themselves against outside activists and their radical abortion agenda.
Ohio’s recently passed constitutional amendment was so deceptively worded that it left even the most staunch of abortion activists scratching their heads. By demanding clarity and exposing abortion activists’ deceptive petitioning practices, Griffin and other Republican Attorneys General like Ashley Moody in Florida and Marty Jackley in South Dakota ensured their states would not immediately fall prey to the unlimited abortion-for-all activism sweeping the nation.
“Deception is the common theme in every abortion ballot measure. Abortion activists have repeatedly used unclear language to mislead voters into embedding unlimited abortion in their state constitutions. Because Americans do not support second- and third-trimester abortions, Big Abortion must funnel millions into ads that lie about what these amendments actually do in order to be successful,” SBA Pro-Life America’s State Public Affairs Director Kelsey Pritchard agreed in a statement. “We thank Tim Griffin, Ashley Moody and Marty Jackley for exposing abortion activists’ deceptive tactics. These attorneys general are faithfully carrying out their duties as they push for clarity so that voters are aware they are voting on establishing a right to late-term abortion.”