The war on women in Arkansas 

Sen. Jason Rapert and his colleagues attack abortion.

In testimony before the state House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor, obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Janet Cathey sought to explain to legislators why a bill ostensibly drawn up to prevent fetal pain would, besides requiring women to carry babies sure to die at birth to term, subject the fetus and infant to more pain. She described what happens when, in one example, the amniotic fluid that nourishes and protects a fetus leaks out: The uterus begins to constrict, so that the arms and legs of the fetus become contracted, and the lungs, deprived of fluid, fail to develop properly. If the fetus does not die in utero and is carried to term, it will suffocate after birth.

Yet the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," by Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), which would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks with no exceptions for fetal anomalies, rape, incest or mental health and which is based on iffy science rejected by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that the embryo at 20 weeks feels pain, was passed by the House on Monday with 75 yeas, 20 nays and 5 not voting. Why?

Conway Republican Sen. Jason Rapert's bill that would prevent abortion after six weeks, when a probe inserted into a woman's vagina can detect a heartbeat, and prosecute doctors who performed abortions after the heart-beat cut-off with a Class D felony, passed the Senate 28-6.

(The House health committee on Tuesday voted to table Rapert's heartbeat bill on a motion by chairman Rep. John Burris. Later on Tuesday, Rapert said he would amend the bill to require a test only when an abdominal ultrasound could be used, which is typically 10 to 12 weeks.)

Given that Rapert's and Mayberry's bills are unconstitutional, since the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision has said that the ability of the fetus to live outside the mother — generally considered to be 23 or 24 weeks — is the standard under which an abortion may be prevented, and that they will cost the state many tax dollars for the court fight the state ACLU promises, why?

The full House passed on Monday a bill by Rep. Butch Wilkins (D-Bono) that would prohibit policies offered under a health insurance exchange from covering non-elective abortions. (No insurance policies cover elective abortion.) The federal health care law that allowed the insurance exchanges already prohibits federal dollars from being spent on abortion, thanks to an amendment by Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. Women who are part of the exchange would be able to buy insurance that would cover abortion, but the portion of the cost that would apply to a medically-necessary abortion would be figured independently to insure only the buyer's money, and not federal dollars, is being spent. Should Wilkins' bill become law, women who are insured through the exchange won't be able, with their own money, to insure themselves against potentially enormous hospital bills that could result from procedures necessary to preserve their lives. Is that what legislators intended?

Another bill, by Sen. Justin Harris (R-West Fork), would define a fetus as a child under the state's Child Maltreatment Act and require all health care professionals who suspect a pregnant mother has been abusing alcohol or drugs to turn her in to the child abuse hotline. If they didn't, they could be charged with a felony. It has been passed over a couple of times by the House health committee, so maybe the bill, which could keep a pregnant woman with substance abuse problems from seeking prenatal care or confiding in her physician, will die a quiet death.

Why is the war on women's rights — which nationally figured into the defeat of a couple of Republican congressional candidates — being waged so successfully in Arkansas?

Testimony before House and Senate committees suggests several possible reasons why Arkansas's legislators are embracing bad law.

1. They want to codify in state law their interpretation of God's law. Lawmakers and those who have testified for their bills often invoke God's name and what they believe to be His will. Julie Mayberry, testifying for her husband's bill, said it was God's plan that her child be born with spina bifida. Mayberry, after the hearing, told a reporter that if a woman chose to have an abortion despite counseling and being told that she was "going against God's word," she was immoral.

Speaking of...

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Kim Kardashian, a Christmas playlist, local poetry and more

    Tonight, is the Arkansas Times annual holiday party. As usual, I've been asked to DJ. That means putting together a playlist on iTunes and Spotify that starts with not-lame Christmas music, gradually transitions into mid-tempo party music, moves to Stax and Motown so the boomers on staff will dance and then, maybe after Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, is just "Back That Azz Up" played on a loop.
    • Dec 12, 2014
  • Radiolab, Beanie Sigel, Kat Wilson, Chris Rock and more

    I have just discovered, thanks to my 23-year-old daughter, the podcast Radiolab, where two guys offer up a stew of various topics — color, dinosaurs, language, medicine — with music as a principle ingredient. So a program on how we perceive color featured info about Newton sticking knife in his eye and other amazing scientific facts and was accompanied by a choir that sang the spectrum to illustrate perception.
    • Dec 5, 2014
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • Walton money

    The Walton family heirs, Alice Walton in particular, have received several mentions during the past year for their philanthropy. Specifically, there was a lot of press about the Crystal Bridges art museum, which cost over $1 billion and is free to the public. Northwest Arkansas is certainly better for this donation.
    • Jan 16, 2013

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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Waltz

    Tomorrow when the authorities find Timothy Manning's body, the 16 year old will be face down at the edge of a cornfield at the end of Corning Road.
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • Carnival

    Our carnival grounds have fallen to a field of brown stalks, the rides felled, a sparkling harvest of metal reaped with remnants of recycled laughter.
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • Philanthropy 2014: What your dollars can do

    Teach a man to read. Help a disabled kid enjoy life. Repair a river. Help the homeless. And more.
    • Dec 4, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Arkansas fiction: the survey

    • I would've nominated "Adventures of an Arkansawyer."

      http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Arkansawyer-Charles-Gramlich/dp/1501035754

    • on December 16, 2014
  • Re: Bowen takes the price tag off justice

    • Is there no conflict of interest with UA law students representing people victimized by UA,…

    • on December 15, 2014
  • Re: Edina Begic, on top of state athletics

    • I personally know how much work Van puts into these athletes. I have a daughter…

    • on December 15, 2014
 

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