On Wednesday, Arkansas adopted the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation. Overriding a veto from the state’s Democratic governor, Republican lawmakers voted in support of “The Human Heartbeat Protection Act”--a law which bans most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. One of the many problems with the ban is that it contradicts the Supreme Court's decision under Roe v. Wade allowing women the right to an abortion until the fetus can viably survive outside the womb, which typically occurs 24 weeks into pregnancy.
And it’s not as if there’s easy access to abortion in Arkansas to begin with--Arkansas is one of just four states with only one clinic in the entire state that provides surgical abortions.
The Arkansas law doesn’t stand much of a chance of being enacted, given the law’s brazen unconstitutionality and the slew of legal challenges they will face from ACLU and other groups. But it follows a recent trend in abortion restrictions at the state level. From mandated ultrasounds to extended waiting periods, Roe v. Wade violations are widespread these days.
It’s also worth noting where the public stands on this issue. According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year, 70% of Americans oppose Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Nancy Northrup of the Center for Reproductive Rights joined the NOW with Alex Wagner panel on Thursday to discuss the latest incarnation of the war on women: “It’s a whole host of laws that say ‘We don’t trust women to make a very important personal decision about their lives,’” she said.