Governor Hutchinson has admitted on national television that he’d signed a total ban on abortion in Arkansas that was unconstitutional under existing law.

Thursday, he joined other Republican governors in signing a request to the U.S. Supreme Court that it overturn Roe v. Wade in a Mississippi case so as to legalize the Arkansas abortion ban, currently enjoined by a federal judge. Hutchinson conceded earlier there was only a “narrow chance” the law would be upheld and he also regretted that it included no exception for rape or incest, but signed it anyway.

The Arkansas law is cruel and unjust. It’s an unconditional government birth mandate. A pregnancy couldn’t be ended by a pill within a couple of days of unprotected sex. It couldn’t be ended for a fetus unable to survive outside the womb. It couldn’t be ended on account of health risks for the mother (except for a “medical emergency”  to save a life). It wouldn’t end abortion. Abortion would emain legal in at least 21 states and women would turn to illegal and unsafe abortions elsewhere if they couldn’t afford to travel. It would provide no aid or comfort for families of children once born.

Governor Hutchinson has been angered by comparisons of some of his anti-human-rights decisions with those of Orval Faubus. Here, the parallel is unavoidable. Hutchinson. a lawyer, signed a law flouting existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent and now insists the precedent should be overturned because states know better what’s best for its citizens — in this case women rather than Black school children. The deprivation of rights he seeks is little different from Brown v. Board of Education. And poll after poll, even in Arkansas, show a majority opposed to ending legal abortion, albeit most support the many restrictions Arkansas has added.

Planned Parenthood issued this statement about the brief joined by governors and Republican members of Congress:

“The fact that this amicus brief isn’t about health care and is instead all about power is something we all should find shocking. It’s ludicrous to claim that different rights for people across state lines would ‘de-escalate’ the abortion debate. And yet in some ways, this is the most transparent attack on Roe we’ve seen in 50 yearsGov. Hutchinson and his cohorts are showing that this fight has lost all pretense of concern for women’s health. And despite what Gov. Hutchinson says, 80 percent of Americans support access to safe, legal abortion.”

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