Republican opposition scuttled a planned House vote on a 20-week abortion ban. This was a ban that all the male Republicans in Arkansas were saying confidently at last Sunday’s anti-abortion march would be passed this week.
Arkansas, of course, already has a 20-week abortion ban, which some day will fall in court. Punitive as it is, it didn’t include the “real rape” provision that finally turned off even some Republican members of Congress. Allowing a rape exception only for women who file a police report is no exception at all for the victim of spousal rape, date rape and other assaults that often go unreported for fear of retribution or harsh treatment by the justice system.
I mentioned the cruelty of this provision in a column this week about pending Arkansas legislation — the unneeded, but anti-health bill that would prohibit a doctor from giving a woman a pill by telemedicine.
No pharmaceutical abortions are being done in Arkansas anyway and the legislation promises more mischief with the practice, even in person. It is also widely misunderstood, this common practice of inducing a miscarriage in the very earliest stage of pregnancy by pills taken over the span of two days. Sen. Missy Irvin’s bill will come up next week, most likely. It isn’t likely to be the only punitive abortion legislation this session, despite consistent polling that shows the majority of Arkansans are comfortable with the current state of regulation and favor keeping abortion legal, if restricted.