Women and reproductive rights activists are calling for mass protests and crying foul after Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill which legally prohibits second-trimester abortions into law in the state. The bill was signed was signed into law on January 26 and it could become effective by early spring.
The controversial anti-abortion law is known as Arkansas Act 45 or the 'Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act' and several women's rights activists have interpreted the law to extract two clauses that were seen as targeting women's rights and health.
Husbands and family and even rapists could sue women for abortions
The new anti-abortion law empowers husbands and family and even rapists to block a woman from committing abortions and also sue the woman or the abortion provider for providing such medical services when a woman's pregnancy is above 14 weeks, ATTN reports. To this extent, even rape and incest victims are not even allowed to have abortions in the second-trimester of their pregnancies.
But several abortion supporters and women's groups have sworn to fight the new law before and after it goes into effect in early spring, with many posts on social media garnering huge responses from followers who swear to oppose the new law and hold protests in Arkansas.
Several people are not cool with the fact that rapists could now have the legal rights to prevent their victims from having abortions, and that women could now be sued for seeking abortions in incest cases. Many online activists call the law 'un-American' and others touted its 'unconstitutionality' while a particular respondent advised women to go for needed abortions in neighboring states if the law goes into effect.
Dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions are now banned after 14 weeks
Mostly done via outpatient surgeries, dilation and evacuation procedure is the process whereby osmotic dilators or other pharmacologic agents are used to dilate the cervix so that forceps could be easily inserted into the uterus to evacuate fetuses. This procedure is proven to be quicker than abortions done through labor inductions and is usually performed on pregnant women who have been placed into deep anesthesia.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 95% of abortions carried out during the second-trimester of pregnancies are done via the dilation and evacuation method.
Vox writes that six US states have passed laws banning D&E abortions with respective law courts ruling in four of these states that the bans are unconstitutional. With the ban on D&E procedures, other abortion techniques are less safe for both woman and fetus and doctors would be compelled to explore unethical or riskier methods to carry out abortions.