REP. KIM HAMMER: Dignity and respect for fetus. Women? Not so much. Brian Chilson

Here’s a good examination of a new anti-abortion law in Arkansas, already under challenge in federal court, that puts new cruelty on women who want to have an abortion.

This is the law that requires notice to the sperm provider for a pregnancy — including a rapist — for plans for disposition of fetal remains from an abortion, even from a miscarriage induced by pills in the first few weeks of a pregnancy. A woman younger than 18 does not have the right to determine disposition of fetal remains. The law leaves that legal right instead to adult “family” members, again including the biological father, even if a rapist.


“What’s most detrimental about this is that they just tied it into an existing Arkansas law that talks about disposing of human remains of any person who is deceased. And that law gets very specific on who has the right to consent,” says Lori Williams, Clinic Director of Little Rock Family Planning Services, one of three abortion providers in the state. “Many of the patients do not wish to involve their partner in the decision to terminate a pregnancy.”

And what does sponsor Kim Hammer, who’s running for Senate next year, think?

“He was there at conception so he ought to be there through the whole process,” Republican Representative Kim Hammer, the bill’s primary sponsor, tells Bustle. “I think that all life, from conception through birth and right up through death by natural causes, needs to be treated with dignity, respect, and also a unified approach to deal with the remains.”

Dignity and respect for women? That’s lower on Hammer’s list of priorities.


Make no mistake that this law isn’t about respect for tissue from a miscarriage. It’s to force a woman into court to have an abortion and thus discourage it.

Abortion activists worry that if the provision were to be enacted, it would essentially allow third parties to block the woman’s abortion. While the law does not allow the sexual partner or other family members to explicitly say they want the procedure canceled, they must all agree on the method of disposal — and could go to court if their opinions clash.

Huffington Post has also discovered the story. The Family Council is busy to trying to debunk the story, claiming — disingenuously — that the new law doesn’t require a rapist’s approval for an abortion. No, but it gives a rapist a say in the disposition of fetal remains and that effectively amounts to giving a rapist a way to stand in way of an abortion.