Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) sidestepped a question on whether he would make exceptions in the state’s abortion laws, which were triggered by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, for cases that involve rape or incest.
When NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd asked Hutchinson if he believed it was a mistake not to include exceptions in the abortion laws for those specific cases, the governor avoided answering the question directly and asserted that the Supreme Court’s decision “was really something that will save lives.”
“In Arkansas, we immediately followed the direction of the law,” Hutchinson told Todd about the trigger law, which went into effect after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.
“It triggered the ban on abortion except, as you [Todd] said, in the case of the life of the mother,” the governor explained.
Todd pressed Hutchinson further on the matter again, asking if the governor would be comfortable if a theoretical 13-year-old, who was raped by a relative, could not get an abortion in Arkansas.
The governor responded by suggesting he wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
“I’m not — I would’ve preferred a different outcome than that,” Hutchinson replied. “But that’s not the debate today in Arkansas. It might be in the future.”
Hutchinson’s comments on Sunday run counter to remarks he made during an interview with the THV11 news station in Little Rock.
When asked a similar question on rape and incest by Arkansas-based journalist Sarah Horbacewicz earlier this weekend, Hutchinson said he did not expect to revisit making exceptions to the state’s abortion ban.
“The legislative will was clear,” he said in that Friday interview. “I don’t expect that to be revisited in the short term, if at all, because they expressed the will of the people of Arkansas that they want to protect the life of the unborn.”
As the state’s abortion ban stands now, the only exception Arkansas will make is when the mother’s life is at risk.
Arkansas is among 13 states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Utah, which all had trigger laws enacted after Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to pro-life research organization Guttmacher Institute.