Arkansas’ new abortion law

The issue regarding abortions has been a huge controvery within recents years. Those who agree with the pro-life stance which opposes abortion and those who agree with the pro-choice stance which advocates for abortion rights and legalizing abortions have had an intense fued going on for years. Recently, more and more states have been banning abortions or restricting the availability of abortions and has in turn caused chaos across the country and intensified the feud between the two groups. 

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 20: Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building June 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Several groups are waiting for the high court to hand down the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling before their summer break next week. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Pro-choice activists supporting legal access to abortion protest during a demonstration outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 4, 2020, as the Court hears oral arguments regarding a Louisiana law about abortion access in the first major abortion case in years. – The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear what may be its most significant case in decades on the controversial subject of abortion. At issue is a state law in Louisiana which requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

When it comes to the different states and their laws regarding abortions, they vary pretty drastically on the severity. Ranging from abortions being allowed but only up to a certain time period to a complete ban regarding all abortions. To start off, I want to go over what states have what laws.

  • Going chronologically, Connecticut was the first state to ban abortions in 1821. Abortions were banned after 18 weeks and 6 days of the womans last menstrual cycle.
  • In 1849, Wisconsin passed a law saying abortions could not be performed after 21 weeks of pregnancy. There is no exception for rape or incest.
  • In 2005, South Dakota put a ban on abortions at or after 20 weeks post fertilization. Only exception is if the pregnancy is harmful to the mother. No exception for rape or incest.  
  • In April 2019, Ohio put a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected; usually around week 6 of pregnancy. No exception for rape or incest. 
  • On May 7th 2019, Geargia prohibited abortions after the heartbeat can be detected. No exception for rape or incest.
  • On May 15th 2019, a law was enacted in Alabama which banned abortions completely. Only exceptions are ectopic pregnancy or some other harm to the mother. No exception for rape or incest.
  • On March 2nd 2021, Arkansas put a complete ban on abortions. Only exception is if the pregnancy is fetal to the mother. No exceptions to rape or incest. 

However, I want this post’s focus to be on the most recent ban. Arkansas’ total ban. So far in 2021, Arkansas has been the only state to administer new bans on abortions but unfortunately, probably not the last. The bill specifically states a ban on all abortions “except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency” and has no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal anomolies. Those who violate this law could end up being faced with a fine of up to $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison. While the law has been approved, it is not set to go into effect until May 3rd of this year. 

The future of this law, however, is unsure because agencies like Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Great Plains intend to challenge this law. Jason Rapert, the man who sponsored the Senate bill tried defending the “no exception to rape or incest” part of it by saying “how could we look at any human baby and say that they are not worthy of life simply because their birth was a result of a violent act” and that statement alone has created an uproar of angry pro-choice individuals that want to abolish this law. 

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