Arkansas anti-abortion legislators plan more curbs on women's medical autonomy | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 15, 2014

Arkansas anti-abortion legislators plan more curbs on women's medical autonomy

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 7:14 AM

I mentioned last week that Sen. Gary Stubblefield would be back with legislation to prevent federal money from going to Planned Parenthood for education programs aimed at preventing sexually transmitted diseases. He wants to punish Planned Parenthood, which also provides birth control and abortion in some places.

Here's more from John Lyon of Stephens Media on plans by the anti-abortion lobby to continue efforts aimed at back-door prohibition of the legal medical procedure.

In the mill:

* A bill to require the presence of a doctor in a room when an abortion-inducing medication is taken. Sen. Missy Irvin describes this as a ban on abortion by telemedicine, not currently available in Arkansas, but it sounds farther reaching than that. She also says it's just about the safety of women. Perhaps a doctor should be present every time a woman has unprotected sex. Because pregnancy has dangerous outcomes, too.

* Legislation to require doctors to tell women more information before they may choose to have an abortion, including fetal characteristics and health risks.  Holly Dickson of the ACLU "said Arkansas law already requires abortion providers to warn patients of the risks of the procedure. She said she could not see a justification for expanding the law unless it was “to mandate that women be given information about the risks of pregnancy.'"

* A crackdown on doctors who don't adequately report on the forced ultrasounds now required by law for women seeking an abortion.

Honest legislators will admit all these bills are about discouraging abortion.  They patronize women, in that they presume pregnant women haven't considered carefully enough the reasons for ending a pregnancy.

The larger Republican majority likely spells success for any abortion legislation that is introduced. Guns and abortion are two of the bedrock party foundations from which I've yet to see an Arkansas Republican stray. There's a good possibility the legislative work will cost the state some money in new lawsuits over the unconstitutional infringement of women's medical rights.

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