Home / News / Arkansas House approves abortion bans with no exceptions for rape or incest
Arkansas House approves abortion bans with no exceptions for rape or incest

Arkansas House approves abortion bans with no exceptions for rape or incest

The Republican controlled Arkansas House approved one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation on Monday. According to the measure, there are no exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest. The proposal now goes before the GOP controlled state Senate, which, according to a report filed by Boston.com, already approved restrictions last week that were even more severe, including a ban on abortion once a heartbeat is detected.

Regarding the Senate restrictions, known as the 'heartbeat' bill, Democratic Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has stated that he is investigating the its constitutionality, stating,

‘‘Obviously, we don’t want to pass unconstitutional laws and end up in court costing taxpayers tons of money."

Pro-Choice supporters have promised to sue if the 'heartbeat bill' becomes law, stating it is out of compliance with Roe v. Wade, which ruled that abortion is legal up until the third trimester.

The new legislation calls for a twenty week ban on the belief that a fetus can feel pain at that point, a proposal that is disputed. The approval was decided with a 75-20 vote, almost exclusively along party lines.

According to the story, the House also voted to block insurance companies from covering abortion procedures if those companies choose to participate in the Affordable Health Care Act's 'online marketplace.' The only exemption is if the procedure will save the life of the mother.

Republican Representative Andy Mayberry made a statement to the legislature prior to the approval of the new legislation, stating,

‘‘If our constituents cannot trust us, their elected representatives, to defend the most basic and essential of human rights, that of life, how can they possibly trust us to have the wisdom and discernment to make appropriate decisions regarding all of the other daily issues that face us?’’

Democratic Representative Greg Leding voices opposition to the measure, particularly pointing out the unfairness to rape and incest victims, stating,

‘‘The case made for that exclusion is that a woman should have been able to make that decision early in her pregnancy. But what if that woman is a 12-year-old girl and she’s raped by a family member or friend and she’s too afraid to speak or at that young age is simply unaware that she’s pregnant?’’

The twist in this story is that the author of the bill is Democratic Representative Butch Wilkins, and he managed to garner the support of twenty four other Democrats, along with the lone Green Party member.

In fact, Governor Beebe backed and signed into law regulations regarding the abortion pill and clinics, as well as legislation very similar to the federal ban on late-term abortions.

For more information, commentary and relevant links, please visit Boston.com

About Al Stefanelli

Al is a retired author, writer and journalist. His books include "Free Thoughts - A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist" and "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth." Al began writing in 1985, starting with the New York Times. In 1993 he joined a McClatchy newspaper, writing a weekly column for ten years. His writing continues to be widely distributed on the Internet and in print. He also produced and hosted a weekly syndicated radio broadcast from 1995 to 1998, and his work won a North Carolina Journalism award in 1998. Al is the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for "The Clergy Project." He is also a former Southern Baptist Pastor, having served two churches and as pulpit supply for three counties. Currently, he writes part time for The God Discussion, co-hosts the Internet radio programs, "The God Discussion Show" and "Reap Sow Radio." Al lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, GA.
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