In 2017 one would think that women in America would have full autonomy over their own bodies, but unsurprisingly in another huge blow to the progression of women’s reproductive rights, Arkansas legislators have decided to pass a law that requires women seeking an abortion have permission of the other party responsible for the pregnancy to access the procedure, even in cases of sexual assault and circumstances involving abusive relationships.
As reported By the Huffington Post:
A recently-passed bill, H.B. 1566, is a provision under the Arkansas Final Disposition Rights Act of 2009, which states that, in the matter of a person’s death, family members have to agree on what to do with the deceased person’s body.
H.B. 1566 includes aborted fetuses into that Act, which means that both the mother and the father of the fetus will have to agree on what to do with fetal remains, thus requiring a woman to tell whoever impregnated her that she’s planning on having an abortion. Both parties will have to agree on what to do with the remains.
This law could also apply to women impregnated by abusive partners, and those impregnated after a sexual assault. (For women under the age of 18, the decision about what to do with the fetal remains will be deferred to her parents or guardians.)
While the state has not made abortion illegal, it is a thinly veiled attempt to do so under the guise of creating legislation about the disposal of human remains. The new law will place many women in already desperate situations in greater danger and sometimes stuck with no choice than to remain in abusive relationships. And for what? To protect the “unborn” what of the quality of life, the health, and safety of the already living.
A representative for NARAL Pro-Choice told HuffPost on Monday that H.B. 1566 is essentially a way to “make it harder” to access abortion.
“While proponents of this plan claim it’s about embryonic-tissue requirements, the plain intention and unavoidable outcome of this scheme is to make it harder for a woman to access basic health care by placing more barriers between a woman and her doctor,” he said.
Experts say that personhood laws like this one this are a sneaky way for legislators to push an anti-abortion agenda without necessarily calling it such.
“Some politicians have begun trying to make abortion functionally unavailable through insidious restrictions like this one,” the NARAL representative said. “Their intention is, of course, to make abortion unavailable by any means necessary.”
The provision recently passed in the state’s 2017 legislative session and would go into effect on at the end of this month ― but the ACLU is fighting back.
The civil rights organization partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights to file a lawsuit against H.B. 1566, and is hoping to freeze the legislation until a decision has been made. The first hearing for the lawsuit will be on July 13.
Arkansas has enacted a slew of new restrictions that practically prohibit access to abortion. We’re fighting back. https://t.co/FKcBZn8Jk1
— ACLU National (@ACLU) June 28, 2017
Every day, women in Arkansas and across the United States struggle to get the care they need as lawmakers impose new ways to shut down clinics and make abortion unavailable,” members of the ACLU said in a statement.
“We will fight politicians who not only seek to shame, punish, or burden women for making these decisions, but also try to push care out of reach.”
(Article by Tasha Sharifa)