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GOP Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson: It doesn't matter what Hollywood thinks about our abortion laws

Key Points
  • Arkansas adopted a stricter abortion law this year that reflects the values that people in the state "feel dearly about," says Asa Hutchinson, the state's governor.
  • "I think we handled it in a measured way this year that has the best chance of influencing the debate nationally," he argues.
  • The Arkansas law also recognizes "improvements that science has made in terms of viability," he adds.
VIDEO1:0101:01
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on abortion laws

Arkansas adopted a stricter abortion law this year that reflects the values that people in the state "feel dearly about," Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNBC on Tuesday.

"These are issues of life that we shouldn't just measure by economic impact and how Hollywood is going to respond to it," Hutchinson said, in response to a question about whether he's concerned that companies might be reluctant to do business in Arkansas due to its abortion restrictions.

Hutchinson's comments came just before the Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed an appeals court ruling striking down an Indiana abortion law governing the disposal of fetal remains but declined to overturn a lower court's ruling that rejected the state's ban on so-called discriminatory abortions.

Arkansas was among several states that passed laws — both to curb and protect abortion rights — after President Donald Trump's second pick to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, was confirmed as a justice in October, giving conservatives a solid 5-4 majority.

State legislators on each side of the national debate seized on the Kavanaugh confirmation as either a mandate to tighten or ban abortion or as a warning call to protect abortion rights, which were set forth by the 1973 high court Roe v. Wade decision.

Hutchinson said: "In Arkansas, I think we handled it in better fashion. We went from 20 weeks to 18 weeks in terms of abortion prohibition. We also had the expectations of rape and incest in the legislation."

The bill that Hutchinson signed into law in March also made exceptions for medical emergencies.

"I think we handled it in a measured way this year that has the best chance of influencing the debate nationally as well as recognizing improvements that science has made in terms of viability," said Hutchinson.

"We have a trigger law in the event that Roe vs. Wade is reversed," Hutchinson said on "Squawk Box." "We can go back. We can have stronger prohibitions on abortion" if the decision was overturned.

Alabama decided not to wait for Washington. GOP Gov. Kay Ivey this month signed the nation's most restrictive abortion law, banning doctors from performing terminations at any stage of pregnancy, except when the mother's health is at serious risk. There were no exceptions for pregnancies resulting for rape and incest.

On the other side of the debate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted a law in January that codifies rights laid out in Roe v. Wade and other abortion rulings.

Trump, during his State of the Union address in February, blasted Cuomo, saying, "These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world."

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