State Rep. Andy Mayberry’s HB 1032 bill that makes the safest abortion procedure available to women 12 weeks or more pregnant illegal also allows a husband or parents to seek an injunction to stop the abortion.
Because the law makes no exception for rape or incest, that means a man who rapes his wife or a father who rapes his daughter would be given a legal right to seek an injunction against the abortion. Governor Hutchinson has signed the legislation.
The Daily Beast asked Mayberry, who does not grant interviews to the Times, to interpret the civil remedies language in the bill. Here’s what he said:
Asked whether the clause would allow a father to sue in cases of spousal rape or incest, Mayberry told The Daily Beast that the “bill wouldn’t affect a woman seeking an abortion by any other method” than dilation and evacuation, and that the bill prohibited the father from winning monetary damages in the event of rape or incest. The bill would not, however, prevent the father from seeking injunctive relief to stop an abortion under these circumstances.
Well, wasn’t that thoughtful of Mayberry to exclude monetary damages.
The clause containing the language creating the right is at subsection 20-16-1804 (B) about civil penalties.
However, Bettina Brownstein and Holly Dickson, lawyers who work with the Arkansas ACLU, noted that the civil penalties section is not the main objection. The bill seeks to make a safe, legal abortion impossible to get after 12 weeks pregnancy, long before viability of the fetus.
“The real issue is not the cause of action they’re trying to create,” Dickson said, but the ban on the safest procedure abortion available to women and doctors. “Keep your eye on the ball,” Brownstein said. No doctor is going to risk being charged with the felony punishment the law creates, leaving women without an ability to exercise their constitutional right.