Quite arguably one of the biggest topics that any liberal worries about, especially a feminist liberal, is the potential that abortion laws in the US could be overturned and a woman could lose her right to choose. Liberals are fearing the “right to life” platform, which has been the cornerstone of both, the Republican and conservative movements across the country since Roe v. Wade was first enacted.
The potential of Trump entering into office and have a new Administration taking over for the Supreme Court was only one concern that women’s rights advocates had throughout the 2016 election. Around the nation, especially in right-leaning states, the morality and legality of abortion laws have been questioned in courts at the state level for years.
There seemed to be changing thoughts about late-term abortion and other abortion rules that were made far before the Planned Parenthood videos, taped against the knowledge of executives, were released to the public.
At the heart of any abortion debate is a woman’s right to choose, but what science tells us is that it takes both a man and a woman to procreate, in the natural sense. If a man contributes half of the life, does he have any say in what happens to the child?
It’s not just a moral question; it has become a legal one for civil rights attorney as well. Many scholars are questioning whether a man or even legal parental figures should be allowed to have some say, if not consent, in the decision to terminate a pregnancy if there is no issue of the mother’s safety.
A new Arkansas law went into effect that may forever change the way that abortion is viewed around the country. The law allows the most common forms of medical abortion procedures be open to discussion and approval from family members. Family members may not have direct decisions to terminate or not to terminate a fetus, but they can now sue the abortion provider.
Arkansas Act 45, as it is labeled, was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson just last Thursday. It bans the procedure of dilation and evacuation abortion procedures, which is the most common type done during the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. Many question the swiftness with which the law was passed.
Taking less than two days to approve, the new law blocks any abortions that are wanted after the 14-week mark. It turns the safest procedures that doctors have at their disposal into a felony. Until now, the earliest ban on abortions in other states has been a procedure occurring after twenty weeks of pregnancy.
What is most problematic to many women’s rights advocates is that the law makes no exception for cases that involve rape or incest. It also allows a clause that the father of the fetus, parent, or spouse can sue the abortion provider to stop the procedure.
That may give not only fathers the right to make calls for a woman’s right to choose but may also let rapists force their victims to follow through with a resulting pregnancy. The law may go into effect as early as spring of 2017, which has abortion advocates up in arms.
The procedure of D&E is one that is used in 95% of abortion procedures, as well as the procedures that are used to remove any tissue remaining after a miscarriage to prevent infection. The law will make it illegal for providers to use it for abortion purposes, which could also lead to higher-risk types of abortion and pregnancy termination options.
Other states that are either considering making the same recommendations or have passed the same stringent policies are West Virginia, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. In Kansas and Oklahoma, the law has already been ruled unconstitutional because it puts an undue burden on the mother to attempt to terminate a viable fetus, which according to Roe v Wade is her constitutional right.
With Neil M. Gorsuch up for consideration for the Supreme Court, all eyes are on the shifting balance of right- versus left-wing judges and what effect that may have on the overall state of abortion legalities in the US. If it gets sent back to the states to decide, many states might in the future be able to pass laws to do away with the termination of a viable fetus altogether.