Abortion rights supporters in Arkansas are facing a challenging task as they work to collect enough signatures by Friday to put abortion access on the ballot this fall. The state, known for its conservative and evangelical values, poses a tough battleground for this cause.

In other states like California, Ohio, and Michigan, supporters of abortion rights have been successful in using ballot measures to protect access to the procedure. However, Arkansas presents a unique challenge due to its near-total abortion ban.

The proposed amendment in Arkansas would allow abortions up to 18 weeks after fertilization, which is shorter than the 24-week limit in most other states with similar ballot initiatives. Supporters of the initiative argue that the current law’s lack of exceptions and the legal risks faced by doctors create a pressing need for change.

State Senator Kim Hammer, a Republican and vocal opponent of abortion, emphasized the significance of the outcome in Arkansas, describing it as a potential victory or defeat for both sides of the abortion debate.

Volunteers working on the campaign believe that by highlighting the need to improve the quality of life in Arkansas, they can build a bipartisan coalition in support of abortion rights. They see this effort as a way to demonstrate that Arkansas is a state worth fighting for and not destined to lag behind in key quality-of-life indicators.

As the deadline approaches for gathering signatures, organizers remain optimistic about their chances of making it onto the November ballot. The outcome of this campaign will not only impact the future of abortion rights in Arkansas but also serve as a litmus test for the evolving landscape of abortion politics in the post-Roe v. Wade era.