Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spread 'em, ladies: Rapert toughens anti-abortion bill

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 2:29 PM

republicaninvagina.jpg

As promised Sen. Jason Rapert and a gang of anti-abortion Republicans in both houses have again introduced a bill to require testing for a fetal hearbeat before a woman may have an abortion. But this measure goes far beyond his last bill to require women to listen to fetal hearbeats in hopes this would dissuade them from seeking an abortion.

The new Rapert bill would prohibit an abortion if a heartbeat is detected, a limitation that moves the potential prohibition in Arkansas law to the 5th week of pregnancy, far beyond the pre-viability protection period that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld. Viability has generally been considered at the 23rd to 24th week, though anti-abortion legislatures have tried to move that to 20 weeks, a move that is under challenge in court. Such legislation is being offered again in Arkansas and could be considered in committee this week. It's even meaner in some ways than Rapert's bill — no exception for rape and incest or mental health of mother.

The new Rapert bill would require a check for heartbeat by "standard medical practice, including the use of medical devices as determined by standard medical practice." The bill doesn't spell it out, but at the earliest stage of a pregnancy, this requirement would mean a transvaginal probe. To get an abortion under the Rapert legislation, a woman in the earliest stage of pregnancy (when most abortions are sought and performed) would be forced to submit to a vaginal probe rather than a standard ultrasound passed over the abdomen. And, if five weeks pregnant and a heartbeat was detected, a woman would be told an abortion was illegal.

Abortions to save a mother's life are excepted as are pregnancies resulting from rape and medical emergencies. But instrumental rape is OK.

It would be a Class D felony for a doctor to perform an abortion after detecting a heartbeat. The woman would not be subject to prosecution.

Rapert says at least two other states have similar laws in the works. He insists case law from 1973 only protects "necessary" abortions and that there's leeway in the law to prohibit abortions as his bill would do. I think he's charting new legal territory. He prefers to say he's defending life and responds to many legal questions by saying slavery was once legal, too.

Here's a Washington Post look at past controversies about transvaginal probes, including a photo from a North Carolina Senate campaign in which a Democratic candidate highlighted the invasiveness of the requirement.

FIGHTING BACK: Deb Butler, a North Carolina candidate, illustrated what her Republican opponent had in mind for North Carolina women, whether they wanted it or not.
  • FIGHTING BACK: Deb Butler, a North Carolina candidate, illustrated what her Republican opponent had in mind for North Carolina women, whether they wanted it or not.

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

Comments (52)

Showing 1-50 of 52

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-50 of 52

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • The TC Edwards memorial roundup

    TC Edwards had hundreds of friends. If you were among them or even somewhere on the periphery, your Facebook feed has been dominated this week by tributes and photos and news of benefit concerts. Here's an attempt at a roundup of everything that's out there, with a focus on all the things you can do or attend.
  • Arkansas Baptist College receives $30 million federal loan; expected to ease cash crunch

    Arkansas Baptist College officials say they have received news of approval of a federal loan that is expected to stabilize the college's finances after a period of struggle.
  • Psych of the South: The Mercenaries' 'Things Found Here'

    Recently, a trove of band business cards from the golden era of Arkansas garage bands was discovered and put on eBay. I was able to purchase some of them, including one by a little known 1960s garage band from Little Rock named The Mercenaries. Their record, on the cult favorite MY records label based in Little Rock, was released in early 1967. Their songs, including the atmospheric and heavy “Things Found Here” along with the psychedelic tinged “Take It All” are obscure even by garage rock standards. They were not featured on the 1999 Butler Center MY records compilation and their story has not been told before
  • Alderman says he'll try again for Fayetteville civil rights ordinance

    Fayetteville Alderman Matt Petty says he'll try again to pass a city civil rights ordinance that extends some protections to LGBT people.
  • The Koch Party: Inside the oligarchs' political machine

    Politico delves deeply into the political machine begin built with the Koch brothers' fortune — a data-driven colossus for voter identification and turnout that has eclipsed Republican Party machinery to the extent that people like Tom Cotton used it over party tools.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation