A recent NY Times opinion article details the many issues with Arkansas’ ban on abortion. We all know how important for a woman’s safety and health it is to have access to a legal and safe abortion provided by a professional. In Arkansas the situation is only getting bleaker, as the Republican legislature overran a veto by a Democratic governor and a supreme court ruling in order to enact the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. This ban would make it illegal to get an abortion after 12 weeks.
The majority of abortions occur prior to 20 weeks. In fact, 88% of abortions occur before 12 weeks. Look here and scroll down for a super neat chart. If a woman is more than 20 weeks pregnant, and she has to get an abortion, it’s sad, because in those cases it’s almost always due to a medical emergency. An earlier version of the bill would ban abortions after six weeks, which is when many women first find out they’re pregnant anyway. To cap the abortion limit at 12 weeks, a full 12 weeks before fetal viability at 24 weeks, is unnecessarily restrictive, is contrary to 40 years of precedent set by the Supreme Court, and clearly shows where republican legislatures are keeping their priorities.
It’s good to know this new law probably won’t stand up in court, but it’s worrisome that this threat to reproductive rights exists at all. Women from Arkansas don’t have less claim to reproductive justice than other women so they shouldn’t have more hoops to jump through when they’re already in a painful situation and they may be making a decision that’s difficult for them. Lawmakers are failing these women just to push their own agenda.