The House today completed action on another anti-abortion bill, this one that will effectively end the rape/incest exception that exists in law for certain abortions (though not in the new ban on ALL abortions.)

Ten anti-abortion bills have already become law and there’s no reason to think Governor Hutchinson won’t sign this one, cruel as it is.

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Rep. Tippi McCullough made a pro forma statement in opposition before the passage of this bill. The Republican legislature no longer bothers to debate (or honestly explain such bills  — this one described as a little ol’ procedural reporting bill). They just rubberstamp their foot-stomps on women’s medical autonomy.

For the record, since nobody else will provide it, what Planned Parenthood had to say in a press release about this bill:

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Today, the Arkansas House passed SB 463, which creates a requirement that in cases of rape or incest documentation showing that the crime has been reported to law enforcement must be presented in order for a patient to qualify for the rape or incest exception. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

Statement from Gloria Pedro, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes Regional Manager of Public Policy and Organizing for Arkansas and Oklahoma, on SB 463:

“SB 463 would require survivors of rape or incest to report their crimes before they were allowed to access safe, legal abortion in this state. This completely disregards survivors’ personal needs at an especially vulnerable time and could create additional trauma.

“This bill is even more government intrusion at its worst. It puts the government in the middle of people’s private medical decisions and police in the middle of doctor-patient confidentiality. It’s clear that SB 463 is motivated by a desire to harass, intimidate and shame abortion patients and providers.

“Bottom line, SB 463 is yet another attempt to put abortion out of reach for the most vulnerable people in Arkansas.”

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Considerations to inform your coverage: 

  • A woman who is experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) is more likely to be killed by her abuser when she is pregnant or trying to leave the abusive relationship.

  • Forcing women who experience IPV and may have been raped and/or coerced into pregnancy to report their partners to the police before being able to access care directly endangers their lives.

  • Furthermore, forcing women who have already been through the trauma of rape or incest to endure the process of a police investigation without regard for their personal situations and health, safety, or wellbeing is reprehensible.

Arkansas ideologues delude themselves if they think they are ending abortion. They are ending safe abortion. And ending abortion for poor people. And ending it for rape victims. Remember when Sen. Bob Ballinger talked of the rape of a family member by a “creep” in his family and his happiness that the pregnancy wasn’t terminated. I don’t think the rapist was charged either. If so, Ballinger didn’t mention it. Which gives you a small idea of why this legislation is so bad.

Party on Arkansas legislature.

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