The bill, H.B. 1566, was passed in March and is a provision under the Arkansas Final Disposition Rights Act of 2009. Under this act, in the matter of someone’s death, family members have to come to an agreement on how to handle the bodies of their dead relatives.
H.B. 1566 adds fetuses to the Act. As HuffPost notes, it means that both the mother and the father of the fetus will have to agree on what to do with fetal remains, thus requiring a woman to tell whoever impregnated her that she’s planning on having an abortion. Both parties will have to agree on what to do with the remains.
While it may sound reasonable on the surface, the bill also applies to abusive partners and rapists who impregnated their victim.
Citing the damning nature of the bill, the ACLU has launched a legal challenge against the bill which will be heard on Thursday.
“Every day, women in Arkansas and across the United States struggle to get the care they need as lawmakers impose new ways to shut down clinics and make abortion unavailable,” said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a blog post announcing its legal challenge.
Arkansas has enacted a slew of new restrictions that practically prohibit access to abortion. We’re fighting back. https://t.co/FKcBZn8Jk1— ACLU National (@ACLU) June 28, 2017
“Arkansas women cannot afford to lose further access. They cannot afford to travel hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic. And they should not have to endure invasions of privacy and violations of their autonomy.”
A representative for NARAL Pro-Choice told HuffPost on Monday that H.B. 1566 is essentially a way to “make it harder” to access abortion.
“While proponents of this plan claim it’s about embryonic-tissue requirements, the plain intention and unavoidable outcome of this scheme is to make it harder for a woman to access basic health care by placing more barriers between a woman and her doctor,” he said.
“Some politicians have begun trying to make abortion functionally unavailable through insidious restrictions like this one,” the NARAL representative said. “Their intention is, of course, to make abortion unavailable by any means necessary.”
Arkansas, whose population is nearly three million, has just four clinics that provide abortions. Prior to this draconian bill, it was already very difficult for women to have an abortion as women were forced to have state-directed counseling and then wait 48 hours before having the procedure.
The fact that abortion is an issue of the state at all, no matter which ‘side you are on,’ is Orwellian. Government has no more business paying for abortions than they do stopping them.
Unfortunately, many people allow emotion to rule their logic and end up holding beliefs which are entirely contradictory. For example, one cannot be ‘Pro-life’ while at the same time being Pro-war. Conversely, one cannot advocate for the state to “get out of their uterus” while at the same time demanding state money to pay for abortions.
Abortion is a reality, and society is slowly figuring out how to deal with it. But, the more the state attempts to interject their bias into this reality, the more skewed the situation becomes. Case in point: asking your rapist for permission to not have his baby.
A society that treats the potential for life as disposable is a society in a crisis of conscience, and in need of self-reflection. That being said, however, a society will not be magically repaired by creating insidious laws that punish victims of abuse and rape.