Despite the cold and iffy roads, today’s 7th 6th annual Rally for Reproductive Justice brought at least 250  people to the State Capitol steps to hear speakers and chant for women’s rights. Keynote speaker Dr. Stephanie Ho, a Fort Smith physician who works with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, gave an articulate and scathing review of the state legislature’s terrible new laws that would subject women to higher doses of an abortifacient drug regimen  than doctors feel is appropriate and safe; that requires them to take the latter of those drugs, which causes cramping and evacuation of the uterus, in a doctor’s office, rather than in the privacy of their homes; and shortens the window of time when women can have a medical abortion.

And that’s not all. The medical abortion law (now enjoined from enforcement by a federal court) requires women to take multiple trips to a physician over a course of days, making it inconvenient and costly for no reason except that there are legislators — even women legislators — who think that women aren’t fully human and so they need to make their family planning choices for them. These lawmakers are so convinced that they are right that they would cause women whose choose not to carry their fetus to term to suffer mental and physical pain, no matter their condition in life or the viability of the fetus. 

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Ho noted that one of the misogynistic bills passed this year would require doctors to give out information that is untrue: that there is something called a reverse abortion. It’s sheer nonsense promulgated by a single wackjob who happened to get his paper on the Internet, and that’s all our enlightened Arkansas legislature needed. Science? Screw it! We’ve got our own particular “religious” agenda to push here! 

I’ve asked Ho to provide the Times with a digital copy of her talk to the crowd, and she said should would, though she was so swamped by well-wishers and people thanking her for her decision to speak out that who knows if she’ll remember the request. 

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UPDATE: Read Ho’s talk here