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The logical extension of this line of thought is that if all abortion is made illegal, and women die as a result of back alley abortions — once the number one killer of women of child-bearing age — that the Arkansas legislature seems to have forgotten, that, too, is God's will.
In arguing his bill before the House, Mayberry said to legislators "who consider yourself Christian" to remember the Book of Deuteronomy, 30:19, in which Moses exhorts rebelling Israelites to follow God's law and so "choose life."
2. Misogyny. All of the anti-abortion bills deny the right of a woman to control her own body, and so are by definition anti-woman. They are also insulting, indifferent and dangerous.
"These bills reflect utter disregard for women's life, health and well-being," ACLU of Arkansas director Rita Sklar said. "That is why it is such an emotional issue — because they attack the legitimacy of women as people, as equal human beings."
Rapert's bill would require all women seeking an early-term abortion to have a probe inserted into the vagina, the only way to detect a fetal heartbeat at six weeks. The probe isn't the main problem. The main problem is the fact that the bill would prohibit a woman who has missed only one menstrual period (if at all) and may not even suspect that she could be pregnant from obtaining a legal abortion. But the invasive vaginal probe — an unnecessary procedure in legal abortion — is undeniably symbolic of what the legislature is doing to women's rights.
Mayberry's bill not only makes no exception for rape or incest it breaks new unconstitutional ground by specifically excluding emotional and psychological health or a diagnosis that a woman will commit suicide if the pregnancy were to continue.
Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) asked Mayberry why he did not include exceptions for rape or incest: "Can you envision a child of 12 or 13 who has been raped and afraid to come forward until after 20 weeks ..." "I don't care to envision that," Mayberry said.
There were a couple of instances of legislators being rude to women witnesses. Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) asked a nurse practitioner, Lori Williams, who was testifying against Rapert's bill if, when a woman miscarried, whether doctors tested for fetal anomalies. Dissatisfied with Williams' answer (no) to what seemed like a strange question, Irvin, a doctor's wife, was dismissive, suggesting the witness wasn't qualified to answer. In a hearing on Wilkins' proposed insurance restriction, Victoria Leigh, a lawyer who plans to join the exchange and who was testifying against the bill as a consumer, could not understand a poorly worded question put to her by Mayberry and asked, "I don't understand. Am I missing something?" "I think you're probably missing quite a bit, but that's OK," Mayberry responded, prompting Democratic Rep. Frederick Love to object and ask that legislators treat the witnesses with respect.
Julie Mayberry entreated the House committee to pass her husband's bill with this pronouncement: "A no vote on this bill says to me you value one person's life over another." A yes vote would do the same.
3. They believe women are neither smart nor moral enough to make their own health care decisions. Despite Cathey's testimony that Mayberry's bill would require women to endure the anguish of carrying to term fetuses with fatal defects, ob/gyn Dr. Richard Wyatt of the evangelical Cornerstone Clinic testified that it was good for "ladies" to do so. He told the committee that one of his patients whose fetus had such severe spina bifida that it had no brain wanted to have an abortion, but that he talked her out of it: "With a little gentle counseling and guidance she elected to maintain her pregnancy." The baby lived "11 hours and 13 minutes and she cherished every minute," he said. Asked by Love if he would always counsel such women to deliver, Wyatt said, "It's best for she and certainly best for her baby."
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