Arkansas Lege Wants To Force Pregnant People To Call A Hotline Before They Can Get An Abortion
The Arkansas state senate voted last week in favor of a bill that would require anyone seeking an abortion to call a hotline where some anti-choice creep can try and talk them out of their decision. This hotline will reportedly cost taxpayers $175,000 to set up and $4.8 million to operate each year. With $4.8 million, the government could actually pay for the the medical costs of up to 480 pregnancies, but they would rather spend that money trying to make it just a little bit more difficult for people to have abortions.
Should the proposal be signed into law by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson — which it very likely will — doctors who perform abortions will be required to verify that the patient has called the hotline. If they perform an abortion on someone who hasn't called the hotline, they will be fined $5,000. They will also be required to keep records to ensure compliance.
It's pretty clear what this is about.
Roe v. Wade was founded on people having a right to privacy in matters regarding their own medical decisions, the idea that abortion is a private choice to be made between a patient and their doctor, and that it is none of the government's goddamn business who gets an abortion, or any medical procedure for that matter.
Requiring people to call a hotline in order to access their reproductive rights basically means they would have to let the government know who they are and that they are having an abortion. Otherwise there would be no way to keep track of people following such a requirement.
The other issue is that it's just beyond demeaning, particularly when you have people like Republican state Senator Bob Ballinger saying shit like "The idea with this is that you're empowering women in order to be able to make the choice to not have an abortion."
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Oh, really Bob? You think you're "empowering women?" How? Why? Because you think they are too stupid to know adoption exists? Because let me assure you, we all know adoption exists. Pretty sure people don't think abortion is the only "option" when it comes to unwanted pregnancies, or that they've made it through puberty without hearing that adoption exists.
Unless there is some other secret option that would involve a person not having to be pregnant or give birth, everyone knows about options other than abortion. In fact, pretty much everyone who wants an abortion has heard every argument against abortion, ever, and has decided that that they want to have an abortion anyway.
The problem these anti-choicers have to overcome is not that people haven't heard their nonsense, but that they don't agree with it or think it's the best plan for them and their bodies. To assume that they haven't is insulting. And what these people want is not to "empower" anyone by telling them about "choices," but to have one last stab at convincing them not to have an abortion and to intimidate them out of having an abortion by taking away their privacy in the matter. That's sick.
Senator Ballinger, for the record, appears to be very fond of the NRA, the Second Amendment and guns in general. I wonder how he would feel if every time he bought a gun he had to call up a hotline and hear me explain to him that he has the option not to buy a gun. Would he feel empowered? I'm gonna guess no.
The likely goal with this is to take the case to the Supreme Court, in hopes that it'll be the case to make the conservative justices decide once and for all that there is no "right to privacy" and thus overturn Roe. Arkansas is one of ten states with a trigger law that will outlaw abortion immediately if Roe is ever overturned, which means challenging this law could lead to no one being able to get a legal abortion there, period. It's not a great position to be in.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse