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Abortion

Arkansas Law Lets Men Block Their Wives’ Abortions

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(iStockPhoto/wellesenterprises)

It’s open season on abortion rights in the U.S. right now, and that includes a new assault on the very idea of bodily autonomy for women, because a new Arkansas law just gave men veto power over their wives’ reproductive choices, and now it says a woman’s husband or family can actually sue to stop her from getting an abortion, even if she wants one.

According to The Daily Beast, the husband’s veto comes in the form of a clause to a larger bill that bans one of the safest procedures for surgical abortion.

Last Thursday Arkansas Governor Asa Huchinson signed the law banning dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions. D&E is the safest and most common surgical abortion procedure for second-trimester abortions, and this would make that procedure a felony when used for abortion, effectively banning abortion after 14 weeks.

That’s bad enough, but arguably the most disturbing part of Arkansas’ new law is that it allows a woman’s spouse, heath care provider, or parent or guardian if she is a minor, to sue an abortion provider for an injunction that could stop the woman from getting an abortion. They could also sue an abortion provider for civil damages for performing the abortion. Because apparently women are property, and their husbands (guardians, and even heath care providers) get veto power over her choices.

There’s no exception for spousal rape or incest, either. (Countdown to Arkansas insisting there is no such thing as “spousal rape” in 3 … 2 ….)

State Representative Andy Mayberry, who authored the bill, told The Daily Beast that fathers could not sue for monetary damages in the case of incest or spousal rape, but the father could still sue to stop an abortion even in the case of a pregnancy caused by incest or rape.

Seriously, this law gives rapists the right to stop the women they rape from getting abortions.

The law also lets the parents of a minor sue to stop her from obtaining an abortion.

“We’ve tried to account for all the worst case scenarios,” said State Rep. Andy Mayberry (R), who appears to have forgotten to account for spousal rape, incest, and also the fact that his law getting past is pretty high up there on a “worst case scenarios” list when it comes to women’s bodily autonomy.

The law is meant to take effect this spring, but the ACLU of Arkansas is already planning to challenge the law in court.

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