By now you may have heard that Arkansas is receiving an onslaught of proposed bills and new laws that limit people’s reproductive choices. These are just a few of those laws and bills:
* New Law, currently in affect: a ban on abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest, or in saving the parent’s life
* New Law, not yet in affect: a ban on abortion after 12 weeks except in the cases of rape, incest, or in saving the parent’s life.
* New Bill (SB1157): Amending the law regarding consent to abortion. Although we don’t know what it all entails yet this usually requires you to look at an ultrasound or have a doctor describe an ultrasound before an abortion is preformed. If the pregnancy is early enough this may require a transvaginal ultrasound.
* New Bill (SB913): This requires that you take both doses of the abortion pill in the clinic with the doctor there. Usually you take one in clinic and take the other at home as you have to wait 3 days before taking the other pill. This would really affect people who had to travel to get the procedure done. This also allows the “father” and “maternal grandparents” to sue the doctor.
* New Bill ( HB276): Amending the law regarding waiting periods for abortions. Again, we don’t know the details but this would largely affect those who had to travel or those close to the cut off date.
* New Bill (HB1098): this changes the definition of child under the child maltreatment act to from the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected to 18 years of age. That means that if a doctor thinks that a pregnant person is somehow abusing the fetus they could file a report.
* New Bill (SB913): this bans telemed abortions, abortions where the doctor is not physically in the room when the abortion pill is administered, but watches remotely and offers virtual counseling.
* New Bill (HB1899): Would allow doctors and pharmacists to refuse you birth control based on their moral beliefs
* New Bill (SB818): Would defund Planned Parenthood
Now what does this all mean to people in Arkansas? This could mean that one or more of the Planned Parenthood clinics would have to shut down or reduce programs which could leave people without affordable birth control, STI testing, genital infection testing, infection treatment, wellness exams, prenatal care, post natal care, free condoms, pregnancy tests, the morning after pill, and the abortion pill. If they try to get an abortion or self abort they could possibly be charged with child abuse. They would only be able to get the abortion pill if they are able to go to the clinic twice in 4 days. They would only be able to get a surgical abortion before 12 weeks. This also means that if the parent’s life isn’t in immediate danger they may be forced to carry a dead or non-viable fetus to term which can cause several health problems and be incredibly traumatic.
What does that mean to you? If any or all of these bills are made into laws this sets a precedence. If your state or wherever you live sees Arkansas accomplish all this they may want to start passing other laws. Right now North Dakota Senate just passed a 6-week abortion ban bill. Now many of you may be pointing out that many of these laws are unconstitutional and do go against federal law. This is true, a state Judge in Idaho just struck down a 20-week abortion ban as unconstitutional. However, they are planning to appeal this and take it all the way to the Supreme Court. Not only is this a time and money consuming procedure if Arkansas were to do this, but also until this happens some of these laws are already in affect or going into affect. Also, these people want to take it to the Supreme Court so that they can call into question Roe vs. Wade and try to get it overturned. That’s the main thing, they want abortion to be illegal on a federal level. This is scary considering 20 states have laws that restrict abortion.
Now, what can you do about this? If you live in Arkansas, or any state for that matter, there are a few things you can do.
1. Educate yourself. Look into what your local laws are, and what the bills are that are coming up. Really look into what they say. Educate yourself on what abortion is, what it does, and why it is used. There are a lot of myths out there, so I’m going to be spreading some posts around to help you.
2. Talk about it. To everyone! Reblog posts or make posts on social networking sites, talk about it in school or at work. Tell people what’s going on and what they can do.
3. Write to newspapers and magazines. Write to as many groups as you can to tell them where you stand. Not only does your voice get heard, it encourages others to speak up as well
4. Call or email your local government. Many people have websites you can comment on, or emails and numbers available. Research who your local representatives are and tell them how you feel.
5. Make petitions, fliers, and protest. Make a petition on line or on paper and get signatures of people who support your cause. Take the information you learned about and make pamphlets or fliers to spread around town and educate others. Many places are holding protests, in Arkansas we’re having one at the Capitol (in Little Rock) March 23rd at 3:00). You are welcome to come show your support even if you don’t live here and maybe it’ll help you figure out what you need to do for your state. If you do live in Arkansas, if you can please go! It’s very important.
6. Vote. I know a lot of people say voting doesn’t matter, but this is a great example to show it does. Vote for people who aren’t going to do this to you. Research who is voting for these awful bills and spread the word so people know not to vote for them. I’ll be making a post of all of the politicians involved in these bills later.