• Wed, Mar 6 2013

Arkansas Approves Most Severe Anti-Abortion Measures In The Country, Tempting A Serious Roe v. Wade Battle

abortionFor years now, Republican-led state legislatures have been chipping away at abortion rights, making the process more difficult and expensive, regulating clinics that provide the procedure into oblivion. New Mexico even tried to deny rape victims abortions on the grounds that they would be ‘tampering with evidence.’ Now, Arkansas has enacted the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. And it’s time that someone stood up for a woman’s right to choose.

Arkansas’s new “Human Heartbeat Protection Act” will outlaw abortions that happen after 12 weeks, the earliest time that a fetus’s heartbeat would be detectable by ultrasound. No other state has ever passed legislation to restrict abortion within a pregnancy’s first trimester.

Arkansas’s Democratic Governor Mike Beebe vetoed the controversial and most likely unconstitutional bill. However, the Republican-dominated legislature, plus a few Democratic allies, had enough votes to override the Governor’s veto. The bill’s unconstitutionality is obvious given the current abortion rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.  The legendary court case says that women will be allowed the right to an abortion as long as the fetus is not past the point of viability, where it could possibly survive outside of the mother’s womb. Within the first trimester, there’s absolutely no chance of viability.

This extreme bill might finally convince pro-choice supporters to act on the continued infringement of abortion rights. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, says in the New York Times, “It has no chance of surviving a court challenge.”

Because the law is so blatantly challenging Roe, even some anti-abortion activists are unhappy that it was pushed through in Arkansas. James Bopp Jr, an anti-abortion lawyer from Indiana, says of the bill, “As much as we would like to protect the unborn at that point, it is futile and it won’t save any babies.” Much of the same criticism has been leveled at those who support Personhood initiatives that would outlaw all abortions, along with some forms of birth control and possibly in vitro fertilization.

Arkansas’s extreme law should spur pro-choice supporters into action, and to the Supreme Court if necessary. We should not sit back and watch as women’s reproductive rights slip away, little by little, week by week, state by state. This new law is a clear sign that something needs to be done to stop state legislatures from removing the rights of women guaranteed by the federal courts

(Photo: Gts/Shutterstock)

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  • faifai

    I’m in VA; is there anything that we who live in other states can do? I can’t call up AR’s governor and say “listed here you nitwit…”

    • Annie

      I can see Arkansas from my back porch, wondering the same thing. So close, yet so far away…

      There’s much you can do. Sign petitions, start a discussion group in your hometown to raise awareness and brainstorm, donate to pro-choice causes, and a letter-writing campaign isn’t a bad idea. You’re not a citizen of Arkansas but you are an American; it’s these guys’ jobs to serve all Americans, not just the ones in their state. Your voice is just as important.

    • BrittLittle

      In this case, it’s not the governor’s fault. He vetoed it and warned them not to waste money on legal fees when/if it goes to the Supreme Court. Blame representatives like Rapert who has made this one of his main causes. I grew up in the state but no longer live there. My sister has kept me well informed of politics in the state. Unfortunately, there is a large population who couldn’t agree with this ruling more.

    • jsterling93

      Our governor didn’t want this to happen. He vetoed this bill and the one last week that banned all abortions after 20 weeks regardless of medical need. The damn legislature is pushing so hard they managed to over turn his veto on both. The people of Arkansas are not being given a voice on this issue. We are pissed off and something has to be done. Look around online there are petitions to sign. Send letters to the legislature here and your own stating how firmly against this you are. If it happens here another state will try next. This must end. Meanwhile they are limiting the ability to get an abortion but they are also making huge cuts in our states WIC program and cutting out free vaccinations for children. They could not care less about the living children in this state who starve nightly in this state but will waste state money to defend their stance that unborn children need protecting.

  • LAwcat

    I’m not a fan of J. Bopp’s politics…but for him to come out an day it’s futile, that’s a pretty big deal. I went to school with one of his daughters, and they blindingly conservative on this issue. (Also, Bopp is a lot more than an “anti-abortion” lawyer. He’s pretty involved with Citizens United litigation.)

    I think it’s pretty clear that by obviously teeterig on unconstitutionality, Republicans are trying to stage a SCOTUS showdown over Wade.

    • Tinyfaeri

      And when that happens, I hope the SCOTUS does what’s right and upholds RvW. This is getting ridiculous, and not in a funny way.
      Someday someone has to explain to me how it’s a conservative use of government to legislate my body all the way down to my ova. I want to see masturbation outlawed next, you know, at least even it out a tiny bit.

    • Lawcat

      I know. The sheer lunacy of te GOP is why I left the party. They’re for less government intrusion, except where women are concerned. They’re for fiscal spending, but will pass absolutely futile measures costing taxpayers money to play to the lowest common denominator red meat issues (drug tests for welfare, abortion legislation, voting rights issues). They’ll spend millions of dollars protecting the innocent life of a fetus, but are pretty ambivalent about innocent lives placed on death row. They’re driving out all the moderates, as seen by the last election.

    • Tinyfaeri

      You and I should probably go bowling sometime. ;-)

    • LindsayCross

      Wait, if there’s bowling, do I get to come? Pleeeeeease.

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

      and once that fetus becomes a person good luck!

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