Hutchinson signs ban on abortions after 18 weeks
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a measure banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, enacting one of the strictest prohibitions in the country.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday signed the measure, which includes exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies. Arkansas already bans abortion 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.
The ban will take effect 90 days after the Legislature formally adjourns this year’s session, which is expected to occur in May. A nearly identical 18-week ban has been sent to Utah’s Republican governor.
Other states are poised to enact stricter bans. Kentucky lawmakers have sent the governor legislation banning abortion as early as six weeks, and several states legislatures are advancing similar measures.
Opponents have said they plan to challenge Arkansas’ ban in court.
FORREST CITY — An encounter with a pack of dogs sent a St. Francis County woman to the hospital with hundreds of bites and scratches last week. after she was dragged behind a house and viciously attacked while out walking, and police are having trouble building a case.
The victim, a 27-year-old woman, suffered hundreds of lacerations after she says she was attacked by a pack of dogs as she was walking home along St. Francis County Road 323 Friday afternoon. She said she was surrounded by about 10 dogs that dragged her behind a house, ripping off some of her clothes in the process.
“The first dog jumped up and it got me on the arm, and then they all just flocked,” she said.
The victim said there was no one else around as the attack was happening and that she was helpless to fight back as the pack tore at her flesh. The dogs drug the woman behind this house.
“They were literally eating me alive,” the victim said.
A woman who happened to be driving by heard her screams and was able to scare the dogs away.
While covering the story, a Memphis news photographer encountered the pack, although he was not injured.
The St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office investigators spoke with the dogs’ owners, but no criminal charges were filed, as there is no leash law in St. Francis County. The woman still has the option of seeking justice in civil court.
Report: Arkansas ranks third in the nation for flu activity
LITTLE ROCK — If you haven’t gotten your flu shot you may want to, Arkansas now ranks number three in the nation for the most active flu cases.
The newest Walgreens’ flu index keeps track of the number of prescriptions for Tamiflu, which helped identify the Little Rock and Pine Bluff area.
Arkansas Department of Health officials say they’re not surprised to see this high of a ranking for the state.
“We don’t have the best flu vaccination rates in this part of the U.S.,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, ADH’s immunization medical director.
Dillaha credits the high number of flu cases to a shift in viruses from H1N1 to H3N2.
“The H3N2, which is now circulating, has a slight difference so although the vaccine works really well against it, it’s not perfect so we’re seeing people with breakthrough cases,” she added.
So far, 63 Arkansans have died due to the flu, and while that number is much lower than what the health department was seeing last year, health experts hope more people will get vaccinated.
“People who get the flu vaccine, they can still get the flu and people need to understand that. We wish the vaccine was more effective then it is, but we know that the vaccine even when people get the flu, it can give their immune system enough of a head start.”