Arkansas Advances Abortion Ban With No Exceptions For Rape, Incest

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Arkansas’ state House of Representatives advanced a bill yesterday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest.  The bill is based on the medically unproven theory touted by anti-abortion advocates that 20 weeks is when a fetus can feel pain.

This ban is largely ceremonial, as most second- and third-trimester abortions are already criminalized under the so-called Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003. (It should be noted that “partial birth abortion” is not a recognized medical term; it was invented by the National Right To Life Committee.) Second- and third-trimester abortions are already rare compared to first-trimester abortions, as they are less safe; according to ProChoice.org, less than two percent of abortions occur after 21 weeks of pregnancy. Later-term abortions are typically performed when a fetus shows severe abnormalities that appear late in pregnancy, such as having water in the brain.

This isn’t the only way Arkansas wants to restrict its female citizens’ reproductive rights: last Thursday, Arkansas’ state Senate advanced a “fetal heartbeat” bill to ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus, which can be as early as six weeks. At that early in a pregnancy, many women are not even aware yet that they are pregnant. The bill, which now has headed to the Arkansas House, makes exceptions in the case of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe says he has concerns that the “fetal heartbeat” bill may be unconstitutional. But Arkansas politicians have already proved where they stand on women’s right to make their own medical decisions. 

[Huffington Post]
[Huffington Post]
[Guttmacher Institute: Facts On Induced Abortion In The United States]

[ProChoice.org: Abortion Facts]

[NPR]

Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.

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