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Controversy Erupts as Arkansas Rejects Abortion Rights Petition 

United States – The secretary of state of Arkansas has refused to accept petitions to put an abortion rights measure up for a vote in November in the solid red state, saying the organizers did not submit the necessary documents — a claim they saidA was false, as reported by Reuters. 

Dispute Over Documentation 

On Wednesday, Republican Secretary of State John Thurston said in a letter to organizers the two statements were missing for the paid canvassers list and a statement confirming they had informed the organizers about the rules of gathering signatures. 

Initially, Arkansans for Limited Government, the organization that spearheaded the initiative, released a statement stating that they had filed all the requisite paperwork and lambasted Thurston’s claim as “absurd and patently untrue.” 

Over 101,000 Signatures Submitted 

It delivered over 101,000 of them last week, which is way past the 90,704 required for any group to get a measure to the ballot. According to Thurston, his office calculated that 14,143 of the signatures were obtained from paid canvassers, which is why the number of unpaid volunteers failed to reach the minimum required. 

“We will fight this ridiculous disqualification attempt with everything we have,” Arkansans for Limited Government said.

National Push for Abortion Rights 

Organizers are trying to place abortion rights questions on ballots in nearly a dozen states in 2024, two years after the U. S. Supreme Court upended the constitutional protections related to abortion established in Roe v. Wade. 

Since then, the voters have approved every statewide measure – seven in total – to either expand or preserve rights to reproductive freedom in red states such as Kentucky and Ohio. 

Abortion is prohibited in most situations under the law that was enacted in Arkansas and sponsored by Republicans. 

Proposed Ballot Measure Details 

Instead, the proposed ballot measure would enshrine the right to abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy but include exceptions beyond that, including rape, incest, when the woman’s health or life is in danger, or when the fetus is not expected to live, as reported by Reuters. 

The anti-tax group Arkansans for Limited Government stated that it had been in touch with Thurston’s office throughout the process, including the day the petitions were filed. 

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