'Legislative Assault' on Women: Arkansas Passes Nation's Most Restrictive Abortion Law

Published on
by
Common Dreams

'Legislative Assault' on Women: Arkansas Passes Nation's Most Restrictive Abortion Law

Arkansas House, Senate override Governor's veto banning abortion after 12 weeks

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

"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.(Photo: Eric Wagner)

Arkansas has just passed the nation's most restrictive abortion law, marking another "legislative assault" on women.

On Wednesday the Arkansas House voted to override a veto from Democratic Governor Mike Beebe on a measure banning abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, following an earlier vote by the state Senate also overriding the veto.

Elissa Berger, Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the ACLU, wrote that it was "a sad day, not only for the women and families of Arkansas, but for women across the country," and called the vote "yet another sign that politicians are laser-focused on taking away women’s access to critical health care."

The Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act prohibits abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, after a fetal heartbeat is detected, and would revoke the medical license of person performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected.

Jezebel writer Katie J.M. Baker writes that the law "means Arkansans would be cut off from the state's already scant legal abortion services way before the point of viability, which is typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy." And the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld that states can't ban abortion before a fetus becomes viable.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe said the bill "blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court," and Baker frames it as "the most egregious challenge to Roe v Wade passed by a state or territorial legislature since Guam tried to ban all abortions in 1990."

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU of Arkansas are gearing up to fight "this legislative assault on women."

"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," Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

"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," stated Northup.

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