Arkansas Limits Abortions To Six Or Seven Minutes After Conception


Existing abortion rulings — including that big shiny one from the Supreme Court — make it pretty clear: Women have a right to abortion access in the period before the child is viable outside the womb. Unable to push time restrictions back much further than around 20 weeks, anti-abortion legislators have instead resorted to other restrictions, like ultrasounding innocent women indiscriminately and making doctors explain the abortion procedure in iambic pentameter standing on one foot with Pantera playing in the background.

Last week, the Arkansas state legislature limited abortions to that 20-week line, ostensibly because that's when a fetus can feel pain, even if that's not true at all. But that wasn't good enough! They wanted to do more. But instead of passing an arbitrary law mandating all examination tables be made of ice cream, they did something that no one was counting on: They passed a law that is totally, clearly, stupidly, unconstitutional.

We heard they would try to do it, sure, but nobody really thought it would happen. It didn't make any sense! The rulings are clear: No restrictions before viability. Despite this, and the fact that they passed a 20-week bill last week, the Republican legislature successfully overrode a veto yesterday to set the NEW limit at 12 weeks. The Times explains:

“When is enough enough?” asked the bill’s sponsor in the legislature, Senator Jason Rapert, a Republican, who compared the more than 50 million abortions in the United States since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. “It’s time to take a stand.”

You may remember Rapert from the time he got mad gay people were allowed to take in foster children, because Rapert is now in charge of which babies are born and who raises them. As for his assertions about why he's taking a stand:

  • Number of people killed in Rwandan genocide: About 800,000, many by machete, plus at least 350,000 women raped.
  • Number of people imprisoned or killed in the Holocaust: 15 to 20 million, many in what is now believed to be as many as 30,000 slave labor camps and 980 concentration camps.
  • Number of babies killed by U.S. abortions, as defined by people who actually know what a "baby" is: ZERO, you self-righteous goateed rutabaga.

But let's move past this part, where he tries to seriously tell you that disposing of a clump of cells the size of a grape is the same thing as sticking your great-uncle from Lodz in an oven. These are the reckless similes of a man for whom reality is but a shiny blip in the rear-view mirror, and there is just too much we have to do today to be bothering with it.

Moving on though, let's hear from Mr. Citizens United himself, about how even he thinks this is stupid:

“As much as we would like to protect the unborn at that point, it is futile and it won’t save any babies,” said James Bopp Jr., a prominent anti-abortion lawyer who opposed the Arkansas law. Mr. Bopp, who lives in Indiana, is general counsel of National Right to Life.

He said that lower courts are virtually certain to affirm existing Supreme Court rulings and, like many other legal experts, he predicted that the Supreme Court was very unlikely to agree to hear such a case.

But if we can limit abortions at 20 weeks because of (medically unproven) "pain," why can't we limit it at 12 weeks because it has a little fetus heart?

The 20-week laws also violate the existing standard of fetal viability.

Ah, got it. So Republican legislatures all over the place are already putting up unconstitutional regulations because they do not really care, and Arkansas has just decided to be an over-achiever for the first time in its history. That's... a little better?

So now, all Arkansas women will have to do to get their legally protected access to abortion is wait for the law to be overturned, dodge the fake fetal-pain bullshittery the state is publishing, go through the mandatory 24-hour waiting period, listen to state-mandated "counseling" about how she is too dumb to understand her decision already, then figure out how to get to the one surgical abortion provider in the entire state. See? There aren't any undue restrictions! What are you talking about?

[NY Times]


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