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Washington County declared the first 'pro-life' county in Arkansas

The declaration has no legal impact on abortion in Northwest Arkansas.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After a 10-4 vote, Washington County has been declared Arkansas' first "pro-life" county following approval from the quorum court Thursday (July 15) night. 

"The biggest misconception about the resolution is that it's somehow taking somebody's rights away," Patrick Deakins, the author of the resolution, told 5NEWS. 

The declaration has no legal impact on abortion in Northwest Arkansas. 

"A resolution doesn't have any legal authority or binding in any way," Deakins said. "What it does is send a clear message." 

A message that Washington County is now considered pro-life, which Lynn Cunningham thinks could present problems. 

"When you pass something like this that is just divisive and short-sided, it doesn't really seem like we're an inclusive county," she said. 

During the quorum court meeting Thursday night, members of the community for and against were allowed to share their thoughts. 

"If this measure passes, we will be forcing our county into litigation about whether that is important, what the value of this is to the county," one community member said. 

Other concerns have been that officials will use tax dollars to support the resolution. Deakins says officials will spend no tax dollars to further the declaration and that it just means that the county can now post on its website and support pro-life organizations. 

The message he hopes will be taken from the resolution is that mothers know there are choices out there. 

The Washington County Democrats say the resolution is a waste of taxpayer time, money and attention and that the resolution is needlessly divisive. They also fear that the resolution opens up the county to liability issues and that it is unconstitutional. 

Benton County will vote on a similar resolution soon. 

RELATED: Benton, Washington could soon be 'pro-life' counties

RELATED: Proposed Arkansas bill requires biological fathers to pay half of pregnancy-related medical costs

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