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Arkansas Becomes Worst State Ever for Women

Arkansas Becomes Worst State Ever for Women

After a back-and-forth with Democratic Gov. Mike Beebee, both the Arkansas House and Senate voted to override Beebee’s veto of a ban on abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The override guarantees that, absent action from the courts, Arkansas will shoot to the top of the list of states most hostile to reproductive rights.

Under the law, doctors who perform abortions on a patient who is more than 12 weeks pregnant will lose their medical licenses unless that patient is a victim of rape or incest, her life is in danger or the fetus has a highly lethal abnormality. Republican supporters of the bill argue that abortion should be banned that early in a pregnancy because the fetal heartbeat can be detected at that point. Opponents are quick to point out that 12 weeks is pre-fetal viability, thus making the ban unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade. “In short, because it would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability, Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court,” Beebe said in a statement. “When I was sworn in as governor I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU of Arkansas have committed to challenging the law in federal court before the law is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the legislative session adjourns.

“The politicians supporting this legislative assault on women have made clear both their indifference to the lives and health of the women of Arkansas and their hostility toward the fundamental rights guaranteed to women by the U.S. Constitution.” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“We intend to make it equally clear that no one’s constitutional rights are subject to revision by lawmakers intent on scoring political points, and that attempts such as this to turn back the clock on reproductive rights will not stand.”

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, also issued a statement condemning the override:

We are deeply disappointed that the Arkansas legislature voted to impose the most restrictive ban on safe and legal abortion in the country.  The majority of Arkansans — and the majority of Americans — don’t want politicians involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.  Governor Beebe rightfully vetoed this legislation and the legislature would have been wise to let the veto stand as this bill is clearly unconstitutional.

People in Arkansas and across America know that abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman to make. This extreme legislation would insert politics into women’s personal medical decisions. Women are counting on Planned Parenthood to protect their access to cancer screenings, birth control, and safe and legal abortion — and we will continue to fight for them in Arkansas and across the country.

Arkansas is also among the list of states with a single clinic in-state for performing abortions, which is a good indication of how difficult abortions are to access in the state without this latest restriction, not that it matters to conservative legislators who drafted this bill with a specific legal challenge to Roe v. Wade in mind. And while it’s good to hear reproductive rights advocates will challenge this bill immediately, that means that more state dollars will go to fight a blatantly unconstitutional bill. Can Arkansas really afford that?

Related Stories:

Conservatives Say Next Election Needs More Abortion, Rape Talk

Michigan Republicans Propose Tax Credits For Fetuses

Is the GOP Punishing Women for the Election?

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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171 comments

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7:20AM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

Women should have the majority and controlling vote on abortions, since it's their bodies... and not the man's...

11:38PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

What the anti abortionists are really saying is that you should not have sex unless you want to make a baby. This is not really surprising given the roots of the anti-abortion movement being in the Catholic church, the most anti sex of the christian-type religions.

11:57AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

David K
"It would be silly for us to use all that manpower/womanpower on things like policemen, firemen, teachers, school lunches, roads, bridges, etc..."

Yeah, what do we need with; policemen, firemen, teachers, school lunches, roads, bridges. we gotta save those zygots.

7:35AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Yes... This is the Republican plan for smaller government that gets the government out of your life... (They just have to invade your home to check for guns (to make sure you have one), and your vagina to check for fetuses (to make sure you don't have one)).

It would be silly for us to use all that manpower/womanpower on things like policemen, firemen, teachers, school lunches, roads, bridges, etc...

7:34AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

SEE!

Republicans are all the same (as you can clearly tell from reading this blog)...

Nothing matters to them but winning, and "the ends always justifies the means" (ie... torture, lying, manipulating facts, and denying facts)..

We don't have to wait for Rush Limbaugh to open his mouth, or wait for another election cycle.

Republican supporters are just wired differently, and they all have certain qualities that make them what they are...

Although it urks everyone else that they are constantly the best example of hypocracy as they are making their morally, and intellectually bankrupt statements (and actions), they each will always simply do or say whatever they think that they need to "to win"!

AND WE HAVE TO JUST ACCEPT IT AND MOVE ON...

Just as we might pass a cow-paddy in a beatiful field of wild flowers... The smell might be very bad and very strong, but we can keep walking and leave that load of crap behind!!!

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/ashley-judd-preemptively-slut-shamed-in-senate-race.html#ixzz2NQjpvTgy

7:07AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

I agree Carole!

I have to ask:

Where is the male responsibility in all of this???

Why are all of these issues only addressing the female aspect of the responsibility???

DO REPUBLICANS THINK THAT BABIES ARE MADE WITHOUT A MALE INVOLVED???

12:33AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Hope there are not new latency problems again, my comment did not post.

12:32AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Some people are relics from the past believing that a woman has sex resulting in pregnancy she must then take responsibility and have a child. For many it matters not if the birth control method failed, or if teens behaving irresponsibly while not using birth control, or even rape/incest. For some there is the old attitude of if you did the 'crime' you then have to pay the 'time' and go through the 9 months of pregnancy, then simply 'grin and bear it' (literally) no matter what your life circumstances are. Sex, in and of itself is seen as an act that results in 'consequences'. A rather prudish, Victorian and vindictive viewpoint. Sure, use birth control but that can fail, some say 'too bad' have a baby.

It matters not if the mother is ready for a family, if she can afford to raise a child or for some any other reason. Conception is seen as the price you pay for having sex. You must 'own' your sexual behaviour. Some even believe that Planned Parenthood has no right to teach proper birth control methods/schools should avoid sex education. Instead, they wish to enforce their views on others and set up a doll house scenario. The pregnant woman not wishing to have a child becomes their surrogate doll. They want to pull the strings and get to play house with her life, set up cute furniture and then watch from the side lines while she struggles raising their doll house enforced family.

6:16PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

No wonder my ancestors got the hell outta that backwoods hole (although TX is no pick-nick). Like Suba said on another post, it's always hilarious to see prolife and NRA stickers on a truck. The Mike H(F)uckabees are ruining everything. I wish we would start taxing religion (and funding PP with it).

12:51PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Cyan D
Carol L. Sounds like your proposal would be appropriate for women seeking abortion. After all, keeping and bearing arms is a Constitutional right not to be infringed, while abortion is well, not a constitutional right but judicial activism going beyond their judicial authority on no scientific or legal basis.”

wrong Cyan, abortion 'is' a 'protected Constitutional right'. otoh your not to be infringed upon Constitutional right also states will be "well regulated". Whereas title X has no such regulations mentioned.

Friend I
“Does anyone actually believe that any human could live without a heart? A baby's heart beats for life just as ours does.”

I suppose you thought Terri Schiavo 'wanted to live' and was aware of her surroundings too, she had a heartbeat.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo_case

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