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March 6, 2013 12:54 PM   Subscribe

The Arkansas House voted today to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of the earliest abortion ban in the nation, 12 weeks of pregnancy, just weeks after voting to override a similar veto on a law banning abortions after 20 weeks.

Adoption of the law, called the “Human Heartbeat Protection Act,” is the first statewide victory for a restless emerging faction within the anti-abortion movement that has lost patience with the incremental whittling away at abortion rights — the strategy of established groups like National Right to Life and the Catholic Church while they wait for a more sympathetic Supreme Court.

The Human Heartbeat Protection Act bans abortions at 12 weeks into pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for cases of rape or incest, to save the life of the mother or for a lethal fetal condition.

The vast majority of abortions — 91.7 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — happen early in the pregnancy, prior to 13 weeks gestation. That still leaves about 10 percent of abortions occurring after the first trimester, the time period that this Arkansas law would outlaw, according to Wonkblog.

ACLU of Arkansas responds (dated 2/28)
posted by roomthreeseventeen (63 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
If only they put so much effort into effective sex education, contraception availability and affordable daycare.
posted by Leezie at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [71 favorites]


How would that punish women for having sex? That's the goal here, don't forget.
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [37 favorites]


with exceptions for cases of rape or incest

Why just shows how morally inconsistent the pro-life movement is.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [29 favorites]


This purposely derails any chance of reacting to an amnio test, since that happens in the 12-16 weeks range, so it's also a big F-U to science and giving loving couples the chance to make a difficult decision when they are faced with things like chromosome damage that will give a child a short, painful life filled with surgeries.

This can't possibly be constitutional, so maybe it's also playing chicken with the court, hoping this battle can go up to a national stage.
posted by mathowie at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [41 favorites]


I'm waiting for Life Begins at Erection. If it's pointed your way and you're a woman, consider your right to choose at an end. That's their fantasy.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 1:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [85 favorites]


Are lawmakers just doing this because it reacts so well to the voting base? Is it just now a contest to see who's willing to go the furthest with anti-abortion legislation? This seems like such a vicious cycle.
posted by hellojed at 1:17 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just donated to Planned Parenthood. Every time I come across one of these things, and I feel this helpless inarticulate rage and sadness, instead of just sitting here with my eyeballs getting hot, I'm going to go give some random amount to Planned Parenthood to try to make myself feel better.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:19 PM on March 6, 2013 [41 favorites]


If only they put so much effort into effective sex education, contraception availability and affordable daycare.

Right. Next you'll want the state to buy kids candles, Barry White 8-tracks, and blankets under the stars. Where will it end?

People who seek out abortions in the second trimester aren't terminating a pregnancy out of convenience (you retrograde troglodytic motherfuckers in the Arkansas state legislature, you). They've received an adverse, possibly terrifying diagnosis from their obstetrician and are in search of options that can save their unborn child from a lifetime of agony and fear, and themselves from the soul-crushing burden of raising a child with a debilitating birth defect. Or they're trying to, you know, save the mother's life because carrying a child to term might kill her. This legislative sadism makes their terrifying moment of crisis infinitely worse. These politicians are literally forcing genetically malformed blobs of tissue to develop into adults with severe disabilities because they think that's what Jesus wants from us.

What fucking morons.

I'm long past taking these developments with equanimity. It's the twenty-first fucking century. We care for our sick. We don't let medieval notions of human destiny govern how doctors provide care. If you have a hard time dealing with that, and you want to legislate accordingly, then I expect you to give up antibiotics, invasive surgeries, computer-based diagnostic tools and the goddamn internal combustion engine while you're at it. It's modernity, motherfuckers, not a cafeteria. You can't just pick and choose based on your own personal convenience. Either you believe in fundamental self-determination, or you believe that institutions have the right to make decisions for us. Waving around a bunch of pictures of surgical procedures can't change that fact.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to give another donation to Planned Parenthood.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2013 [98 favorites]


mathowie, from what I understand of the law, a fetus with serious fatal abnormalities can be aborted at a later time: (B) Due to the existence of a highly lethal fetal disorder as defined by the Arkansas State Medical Board;
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:21 PM on March 6, 2013


This can't possibly be constitutional, so maybe it's also playing chicken with the court, hoping this battle can go up to a national stage.

Given the makeup of the current court, I have a hard time imagining they'd strike this down. After all, it's not an outright ban.

On a semi-related note...Does anyone know if there's a new tactic among the anti-abortion crowd to fill the parking lot of Planned Parenthood with cars, to make it inaccessible to patients? There's a local group that has been semi-regularly protesting along the street of our area PP office (on Saturdays, of all days). The last two Saturdays, the protestors weren't there, but the PP parking lot was packed with cars. Easily triple or quadruple the usual numbers for that day.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:24 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just donated to Planned Parenthood.

Someone needs to start up an organization that just pays moving expenses for young women and LGBT kids and basically anyone who wants out of places like Arkansas. Planned Pilgrimhood.
posted by Etrigan at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [71 favorites]


mathowie: "This purposely derails any chance of reacting to an amnio test"

Or a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) test, which can only be performed at 10-12 weeks and requires a good week or two for the tissue samples to develop and be tested. Genetic testing does not provide instantaneous results.

My son had both a CVS test and amniocentesis because his CVS sample was not viable. We didn't get the results of his amnio until at least 18 or 19 weeks. Selective reduction at 19 weeks would have been quite dangerous in a twin pregnancy.

roomthreeseventeen: "mathowie, from what I understand of the law, a fetus with serious fatal abnormalities can be aborted at a later time: (B) Due to the existence of a highly lethal fetal disorder as defined by the Arkansas State Medical Board;"

"Fatal" is the key word there. It does not cover a child who would be born with moderate to severe mental and/or physical handicaps that are not immediately life threatening. Arkansas law still bans physicians from aborting fetuses with fatal abnormalities after 20 weeks, forcing mothers to carry them to term.
posted by zarq at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


grew up in arkansas, researched getting an abortion in oklahoma - it's scary here. it's no wonder that the girls i knew growing up just stole their mom's birth control and took a handful to try to force a miscarriage.
posted by nadawi at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


zarq, thanks for the clarification.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:37 PM on March 6, 2013


I wish the donation form had a tribute/comment part. I'd enjoy the additional emotional catharsis. Or like a series of checkboxes you could pick. "This one's for Arkansas!" Or "This is for my daughter!" Or a dropdown box, "This donation is to manage my feelings of (pick one)" and then you'd get 'rage' 'disappointment' 'fear of the future' or something. All optional so if you just want to donate and get the hell out, you could, but if you just needed to feel like someone really heard you, you could pitch to them.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:37 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Etrigan: "Someone needs to start up an organization that just pays moving expenses for young women and LGBT kids and basically anyone who wants out of places like Arkansas. Planned Pilgrimhood."

I'm not that familiar with Arkansas politics, but the democratic governor who vetoed this was elected in 2006 with 55% of the vote, and was reelected in 2010 with 64% of the vote. He's on record as being in favor of women's rights, affordable healthcare, and raising taxes.

This is in a state where Mitt Romney got 64% of the vote in 2012, and the legislature just did this terrible thing...

The guy sure seems like an anomaly, and yet people keep turning out to vote for him...

I could be wrong, but I don't think it's quite as black-and-white as you think. The people of Arkansas probably aren't a bunch of intolerant jerks -- however, like most Americans, they profoundly suck at electing good legislators. Nobody ever seems to acknowledge this as a legitimate problem, even as it glares at us in the face at every level of the government.

(Newsflash: It doesn't matter what your governor or state legislature thinks about abortion -- it's a federal issue, and even at that, the current status quo is firmly so firmly entrenched that any attempt to change it would result in a deadlock.)
posted by schmod at 1:39 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


How would that punish women for having sex? That's the goal here, don't forget.

If anyone is in serious doubt about this, by the way, I offer you this recent story in which a Christian college fired an unmarried woman for getting pregnant (and thereby violating their code of ethics which stipulates no premarital sex) and then promptly offered her job to her boyfriend, who had pretty obviously been engaging in exactly the same premarital sex.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on March 6, 2013 [56 favorites]


"Highly lethal" doesn't cover a wide range of genetic and fetal developmental disorders that would still prompt a loving, rational mother to choose termination of the pregnancy. Some of those disorders may cause a lifetime of pain, some may cause "only" a significant chance of early death, and some may lead to a less than full life. The point is that it is not the state's business to make that choice for the mother. It should be entirely her choice, subject only to her informed consent regarding the risks inherent in the abortion procedure (the actual risks, not the made-up risks invented by conservative legislatures). In other words, it should be just like any other medical procedure. Because that's what it is.

Given the makeup of the current court, I have a hard time imagining they'd strike this down. After all, it's not an outright ban.

Not striking it down would be a serious blow to Roe v. Wade, which essentially held that, prior to the point of viability (currently no earlier than 22 weeks), the state cannot interfere with abortion apart from preserving and protecting maternal health. This point was upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which, more or less, held that the state could not place an undue burden on abortions pre-viability.

So I don't know if the current Supreme Court is ready to go that far. The heartbeat business wouldn't even pass the rational basis test, since it has nothing to do with fetal health or maternal health, so if this law is constitutional then a law with the same exceptions that started at conception rather than 12 weeks + a heartbeat would likely also be constitutional. Not striking down this law would open the floodgates to a virtual ban.

And that's the point of this and the other recent laws: a bunch of "laboratories of democracy" all concocting a bunch of different kinds of ban, trying to feel out exactly where the line is. Which is why we need a new, bright-line case. Ideally it would state that there is an unequivocal right to an abortion up to the birth of the child, but more realistically it would state that there is an unequivocal right to an abortion up to the point of viability.
posted by jedicus at 1:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


It doesn't matter what your governor or state legislature thinks about abortion

I honestly don't know how anyone can believe that this is the case considering the massive infringement of abortion rights that has occured in many states.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


(Newsflash: It doesn't matter what your governor or state legislature thinks about abortion -- it's a federal issue

that's a fine intellectual position to have, but for the women in these states where the battle is being fought the fiercest, lack of access, stigma, overly restrictive anti-choice policies - all of it adds up to it being pretty difficult to get an abortion if you're poor, or lack transportation, or are already emotionally spent. roe v wade still stands, but it's certainly better applied in some places than others.
posted by nadawi at 1:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


One thing I've always wondered about the exceptions for rape or incest is, what's the burden of proof required? I assume the pregnant woman can't just say "I was raped," or "My father got me pregnant," and that allows the doctor to go "Oh, okay!"

Criminal investigations take time. Getting to trial takes time. The trial itself takes time. By that point, the pregnancy could well be over. So not only to rape and incest exceptions make a mockery of "But abortion is murder!" claims, they're also not actually realistic exceptions.
posted by rtha at 1:52 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "zarq, thanks for the clarification."

No worries. You're welcome!
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on March 6, 2013


rtha--

that is a feature, not a bug.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing I've always wondered about the exceptions for rape or incest is, what's the burden of proof required?

I suspect they'd have to formally name names (or have filed a police report, in the case of rape)
posted by Thorzdad at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2013


rtha: "One thing I've always wondered about the exceptions for rape or incest is, what's the burden of proof required? I assume the pregnant woman can't just say "I was raped," or "My father got me pregnant," and that allows the doctor to go "Oh, okay!""

For rape, forensic evidence collected during an examination by a medical professional using a standard sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kit. There are several versions of those kits and they do go by different formal names. (Colloquially known as 'rape kits.') A trial is not typically required to determine if rape has occurred, just a doctor's sign off. In theory, you go to trial not to determine if someone has been raped. You go to trial to determine the identity and culpability of the rapist.

I do not know what happens in cases of incest. I assume that sworn statements given to the police by the victim and a medical professional are required. But again, not a trial.
posted by zarq at 1:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reporting raises additional issues when it comes to rape, sexual assault and incest. Many rapes go unreported because women are understandably reluctant to speak about what has been done to them to strangers. They may be afraid they'll be shamed or humiliated. They may also be reluctant to endure medical examinations for the same reasons.
posted by zarq at 2:02 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


See, but that's what I'm wondering. Because a rape kit can certainly confirm that sexual activity took place, but not necessarily that that sexual activity was non-consensual. A trial can also be something used to determine whether or not (according to the court) it *was* rape.

And, of course, many, many women don't go to the ER or the doctor after unwanted sexual intercourse, even if it was perpetrated by a stranger rather than an acquaintance, boyfriend, or husband. So there's no rape kit.
posted by rtha at 2:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


roomthreeseventeen: "while they wait for a more sympathetic Supreme Court"

Jesus, a more sympathetic Supreme Court?
posted by Riki tiki at 2:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could be wrong, but I don't think it's quite as black-and-white as you think. The people of Arkansas probably aren't a bunch of intolerant jerks -- however, like most Americans, they profoundly suck at electing good legislators. Nobody ever seems to acknowledge this as a legitimate problem, even as it glares at us in the face at every level of the government.

This is sorta true. Arkansas used to have two Democratic senators, in addition to the Democratic governor, until the crazy rebellion against incumbents in 2010 knocked out Blanche Lincoln. Not to forget either, but Mike Huckabee was really the exception as a Republican governor, not part of the rule. For the most part, Democrats have always ruled the governor's mansion.

According to my former Young Democrat members at law school, Governor Beebe was a hoot to go out to a bar with.

However, for the first time the Republicans control the state legislature completely and it's kind of cringe worthy to fear what'll come out next. Thankfully, I live in Missouri and can get my own homegrown cringe worthy legislation!
posted by Atreides at 2:06 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"just shows how morally inconsistent the pro-life movement is."

Reminds me of a story I recently read - a surrogate had signed a contract that she would terminate if there were serious abnormalities. The fetus was found to have a cleft lip and palate, brain tumor, numerous heart defects, two poorly functioning spleens, misplaced internal organs, severe brain abnormalities, and a very obvious life of immense suffering if continued. The parents asked the surrogate to terminate, but even after signing a contract, the surrogate refused, saying she did not believe in abortion and did not believe it was anyone's place to play god. The parents offered an additional $10k to the surrogate if she would terminate (the parents already had 2 special needs children). The surrogate then countered it, asking for $15k. For the right amount of money, she would have an abortion. If denied, she made it clear she also didn't want to take care of child itself once it was born.

Honestly, when I hear someone identify themselves as "pro-life" my mind does this thing where it translates that identification as 'morally bankrupt' and among the least likely to be concerned with human life, human dignity, and human compassion.
posted by raztaj at 2:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [23 favorites]


raztaj, I think the record on that story is a little fuzzy. The surrogate says in retrospect that the $15k counteroffer was made in haste and she wouldn't have actually had an abortion for any amount of money.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


raztaj--

Wow, fascinating. I remember seeing CNN in the lunchroom covering that story. Of course, all I heard/saw was the blurb and sound byte. And of course, all the information that contained was "surrogate offered 10k to abort fetus".
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:14 PM on March 6, 2013


The surrogate says in retrospect that the $15k counteroffer was made in haste and she wouldn't have actually had an abortion for any amount of money.

The mere fact that such a counteroffer was made, at any point, "in haste" or otherwise, pretty much seals the question of principles in this case.
posted by Behemoth at 2:18 PM on March 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is a culture war. The Civil War was just the opening gambit...
posted by jim in austin at 2:22 PM on March 6, 2013


If you're not already familiar, abortion funds make all the difference for women who, for example, have to travel out of state in order to access abortion (like the women of Arkansas will have to do if this is upheld in court). I highly recommend donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds.
posted by cowboy_sally at 2:44 PM on March 6, 2013 [20 favorites]


rtha: "See, but that's what I'm wondering. Because a rape kit can certainly confirm that sexual activity took place, but not necessarily that that sexual activity was non-consensual. A trial can also be something used to determine whether or not (according to the court) it *was* rape.

Yes. I don't know the legal details regarding how they determine rape but I do know that the presence of a rape kit report can matter. Perhaps for this reason: A woman who goes to an emergency room to be examined within 24 hours of having sexual intercourse and says she has been raped is considered differently than if she finds out she is pregnant several weeks later and then reports she has been raped. In the first case, forensic evidence will have been collected before a pregnancy was identified. Whether that evidence is conclusive or not, there's a record of a woman saying she has been raped before she tried / needed to seek out an abortion.

There's an automatic assumption being made in both situations that women will lie about being raped in order to be allowed to have an abortion.

And, of course, many, many women don't go to the ER or the doctor after unwanted sexual intercourse, even if it was perpetrated by a stranger rather than an acquaintance, boyfriend, or husband. So there's no rape kit."

Yes. And most rapes are not committed by strangers but to people familiar to the victim. Which makes it less likely that they will identify their assailant.
posted by zarq at 2:53 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The heartbeat business wouldn't even pass the rational basis test, since it has nothing to do with fetal health or maternal health, so if this law is constitutional then a law with the same exceptions that started at conception rather than 12 weeks + a heartbeat would likely also be constitutional. Not striking down this law would open the floodgates to a virtual ban.

That's not what rational basis review is. The state just has to show that the law is rationally connected to some state interest. In this case, the state's response would likely be that the state has an interest in its propagation. Of course, we know that abortion doesn't get rational basis but the weird "undue burden" test. It's in the penumbras, you know.

And that's the point of this and the other recent laws: a bunch of "laboratories of democracy" all concocting a bunch of different kinds of ban, trying to feel out exactly where the line is. Which is why we need a new, bright-line case. Ideally it would state that there is an unequivocal right to an abortion up to the birth of the child, but more realistically it would state that there is an unequivocal right to an abortion up to the point of viability.

Actually, what we need is no federal policy at all. Before Roe v. Wade, there was no need for states to feel out a "line". The state could merely choose to ban abortion or not. The effect of a declared constitutional right Roe v. Wade is the work of the "laboratories" that you find so tiresome.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:57 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for Life Begins at Erection.

Life sure does begin and end at elections...
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 3:12 PM on March 6, 2013


I'm waiting for Life Begins at Erection. If it's pointed your way and you're a woman, consider your right to choose at an end. That's their fantasy.

[insert my usual comment here about Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale quickly becoming not so much a cautionary tale as a wingnut's wishful agenda]
posted by fuse theorem at 3:19 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'd rather the legal laboratories than a lack of federal protection for abortion at all, thank you.

Of course, what I would prefer is for women everywhere to have access to safe, legal, and affordable abortions at all times but that needs work still.

The rage over the lack of discourse from the Dems in power about the undeniable war on reproductive freedom grows in me day after day.
posted by lydhre at 3:47 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


As an Arkansan this legislation is embarrassing and rather pathetic, once again a chance to look backward. Also hate it because I knew it would generate patronizing, arrogant comments and attitudes about the state, including examples above. (deserved on this day, but still hard to take).

Would also like to point out there are pockets of civilization here, especially around the Fayetteville/NW Arkansas and Little Rock areas.

I don't know what to do besides take solace that this will certainly be overturned in the courts and donate to some of the organizations previously mentioned.

One last thing...higher ups in state government always make a big deal about wanting to attract well-educated people from out of state and keep promising young people here. This kind of insane bullshit drives those people away.
posted by aerotive at 3:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


"just shows how morally inconsistent the pro-life movement is.

Like Fundies everywhere, they start from the premise that they have the right to impose their particular brand of morality on everyone else.

Your right to argue, dissent, or follow your own view is over-ruled by their intolerant certainty. This is the stuff that starts wars.
posted by Twang at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


those pockets of civilization are still in the same state though. it was nwa that i was talking about upthread when i mentioned the girls taking handfuls of bc pills. i've also rode along with a couple girls who crossed the state line to have easier access to their abortion - that was in the 90s, though. these days that seems to be somewhat better, but it doesn't help the women out in the sticks - the woman who probably needs that help more. regardless, a woman in fayetteville looking to end a pregnancy that's gone on 14 weeks will be denied her abortion just like the woman in mountain view - kick ass bars, lgbt parades, and farmers markets notwithstanding. it's hard to live in a state where everyone on the coasts lines up to take their shots, but in this case it's warranted.
posted by nadawi at 4:09 PM on March 6, 2013


One last thing...higher ups in state government always make a big deal about wanting to attract well-educated people from out of state and keep promising young people here. This kind of insane bullshit drives those people away.

This is the thing. 'Pockets of civilisation' or no, I'm a heck of a lot less inclined to take a job in Arkansas now than I was yesterday.

(Though if your defense of Arkansas is that there are pockets of civilisation, you're not making it sound too appealing, even without an insane state legislature.)
posted by hoyland at 5:19 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's not what rational basis review is. The state just has to show that the law is rationally connected to some state interest. In this case, the state's response would likely be that the state has an interest in its propagation. Of course, we know that abortion doesn't get rational basis but the weird "undue burden" test. It's in the penumbras, you know.

That's why I said "wouldn't even pass the rational basis test." The Court has allowed restrictions on abortion pre-viability when necessary to protect maternal health (e.g. requiring that the procedure be performed by a doctor). But the heartbeat nonsense isn't even rationally related to protecting maternal health. It certainly wouldn't pass the undue burden test.

Actually, what we need is no federal policy at all. Before Roe v. Wade, there was no need for states to feel out a "line". The state could merely choose to ban abortion or not. The effect of a declared constitutional right Roe v. Wade is the work of the "laboratories" that you find so tiresome.

No, what we need is a strong, consistent federal policy, similar to how the Court reacted to Arkansas defying the end of segregation. The Court should make it clear that, no, it really meant it when it said that abortion is almost always legal before viability.

And I would find the laboratories even more tiresome if they had the ability to ban abortion outright (which 17 states would do automatically if Roe v. Wade were overturned).
posted by jedicus at 5:31 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's an automatic assumption being made in both situations that women will lie about being raped in order to be allowed to have an abortion.

Although I know you meant nothing harmful by this, zarq, I'm a little confused by what you meant here. Do you mind expanding? I think it's because I'm coming at it from the perspective of "it is 100% ok for a woman to lie about being raped in order to be allowed an abortion"; frankly, you gotta do what you gotta do (leaving aside lying about being raped by person X, which would not be good), so this assumption is maybe not striking me as as problematic as it should.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:41 PM on March 6, 2013


Thankfully, the Arkansans do not seem to know calculus. Otherwise, they would make an end run around Roe v. Wade by passing a law outlawing abortion after epsilon weeks.
posted by jonp72 at 5:45 PM on March 6, 2013


and then promptly offered her job to her boyfriend, who had pretty obviously been engaging in exactly the same premarital sex.

That's the essence of the problem. How can you at all promote life for a child by destroying their mothers economic opportunity?

All other questions aside, the people who pushed the legislation know it's unconstitutional. They might not agree with it, but they know what's going to happen in court. Think of the time, money, effort, emotional and social strain this causes. All the drain on the resources all the effort that could be better directed elsewhere.
Over what? A futile pointless self-righteous gesture of destructive hypocrisy while social services (like adoption or foster care through the state DFCS or Human Services) goes understaffed, there are less volunteers for Big Brother/Big Sister type programs.

I might cut the people who are ignorant enough to think they're doing something productive (towards what they believe) some slack, but there are enough lawyers on board who know the score.

There should be a 10th Circle of Hell.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:23 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lemurrhea, I'm sorry, i don't understand the question? Am only saying that a forensic evidence requirement carries with it a particular assumption.

I'm vehemently, adamantly pro-choice. Would never pass judgement against anyone seeking an abortion.
posted by zarq at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2013


*Mumbles something about retroactive abortion for assholes*

I'm waiting for Life Begins at Erection. If it's pointed your way and you're a woman, consider your right to choose at an end. That's their fantasy.

May I have a bumper sticker expressing this sentiment?
posted by BlueHorse at 6:51 PM on March 6, 2013


What the hell. My senator is reading Shakespeare right now. o_O
posted by jph at 7:34 PM on March 6, 2013


Hamlet?
posted by zarq at 7:55 PM on March 6, 2013


The Taming of the Shrew.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:52 PM on March 6, 2013


How will this affect legislation in other states? Which states have capable legislators watching and maybe using this to obtain support for similar bills?
posted by michaelh at 9:06 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's why I said "wouldn't even pass the rational basis test."

My point is that your rational basis test analysis was wrong. The law would simply need a rational connection to any state interest - not a connection restricted to maternal or fetal health.

No, what we need is a strong, consistent federal policy, similar to how the Court reacted to Arkansas defying the end of segregation. The Court should make it clear that, no, it really meant it when it said that abortion is almost always legal before viability.

Until 1973, the federal policy was that there was no federal policy. Despite what you saw on Boardwalk Empire last season, this was generally not a problem. (Quite the contrary, if one cares anything for the work of Woodhull or Stanton). I suspect we took different things from our respective legal educations, because I did not learn the idea that every law that I think is a bad idea somehow contravenes a fundamental constitutional right. There is no "strong, consistent federal policy" on the sale of sex toys. In fact, there is no federal policy about them at all. Do I think that Alabama's statute banning them is silly? Yes, and if I were a member of the Alabama legislature, I would have voted against it. However, while I do not have a primarily constitutional practice, I am unable to find a right to buy vibrators or Fleshlights in the 14th Amendment.

By the way, how do you propose the courts "make it clear they really mean it" besides entertaining appeals as they come? Deploy the marshals to the office of every medical provider that performs abortions? I am truly curious to know what you meant by that.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:09 AM on March 7, 2013


This can't possibly be constitutional, so maybe it's also playing chicken with the court, hoping this battle can go up to a national stage.

Actually, it's for precisely this reason that pro-life forces are seriously split on the issue. Here's an old article about a similar bill that was introduced in Ohio. The National Right to Life legal think tank was actually working to prevent this bill from passing because there is a fear that this is so extreme that it might backfire, instead of the safer, incremental, largely funding-for-planned-parenthood-and-medical-services-for-the-poor-in-general,strategy that they have been pursuing across the country thusfar. I would guess that an injunction is imminent, at least at the District Court level.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:21 AM on March 7, 2013


Tanizaki, I suggest you read a book called "When Abortion was a Crime" Women, Medicine and Law in the United States, 1867-1973." It's by Leslie Reagan. The book is thorough, well-focused and eye opening. It's also not particularly biased towards a particular side, which is helpful. Read the introduction here. Review. You can preview some of it at Google Books.

The basic upshot of the book is that the history of abortion in the US from the late 1800's until Roe v. Wade is quite complex and not accurately simplified as "abortions were illegal, but widely available." Abortion was outlawed in every US state by 1900. Some states even piggybacked their anti-abortion laws on the Comstock Law of 1873. Meanwhile, the American Medical Association aggressively pushed anti-abortion reform on their members and through political campaigns for many reasons, including that they considered abortion a violation of the marriage contract. There were greater issues with privacy and public shaming than there are today. Women who got an abortion and were outed could lose their social status and be shunned, or worse: they could be imprisoned or sent to a mental hospital. All depending on their status and where the crime had been committed. The issue was also used politically to prevent civil rights reform for women.

In the 1950's, your geographic location within the US, your financial status, the color of your skin and which doctor you went to were strong factors towards whether or not you had access to an abortion. The states that had passed laws outlawing them had been supported by medical organizations, who wanted physicians to be the final authority on whether an abortion could be performed. Physicians were expected to report each other and their patients to the police and state authorities if an abortion had been performed, or if someone had sought one out. Prosecution methods and severity varied widely depending on your location, financial / class status and circumstances.
posted by zarq at 9:21 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tanizaki, I suggest you read a book called "When Abortion was a Crime" Women, Medicine and Law in the United States, 1867-1973."

Thank you for the recommendation and your comment. While I did not say "abortions were illegal, but widely available," it would not matter for my point whether abortions were totally unavailable. I was speaking to whether or not this is a right to be found in the 14th Amendment. Loss of social status or shunning have nothing to do with that.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:46 AM on March 7, 2013


Related
posted by herbplarfegan at 5:00 PM on March 7, 2013


Partial list of nations that limit abortion to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or earlier:

Austria
Belgium
Denmark
France
Germany
Greece
Italy
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Spain


So yeah...most of Europe.
posted by republican at 6:35 PM on March 7, 2013


Partial list of nations that limit abortion to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or earlier:

For most of them, actually, it's on-demand up to 12, after that you need some number of doctors who say there'll be grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother, or severe uncurable illness for the potential child. Arkansas requires the illness to be fatal.

Source
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:43 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


North Dakota Becomes First State To Ban All Abortions By Defining Life At Conception
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on March 22, 2013


Government small enough to fit in my uterus!

“We have stepped over the line,” Republican state Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) said of the recent push to pass personhood. “North Dakota hasn’t even passed a primary seatbelt law, but we have the most invasive attack on women’s health anywhere.”


Well, at least the state is rich with fracking cash for the lawsuits they're going to have to defend against. Assuming it gets through the ballot process in November, which it might not.
posted by rtha at 2:25 PM on March 22, 2013


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