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Anti-Choice Legislature in Arkansas and what it means to you.
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.
So I wrote to all Arkansas Senators, and this is one of the responses I got
I love the thinly veiled contempt he holds for my words. Can you spread this around so Arkansas residents know how unwilling to communicate about legislation that affects them he is?
Yeah, I got a similarly disappointing response (BY THE SAME SENATOR!) right after Beebe’s Veto of the 20 week bill:
Basically Senator Clark not only thinks it’s okay to make light of the fact that abortion is sometimes the only viable option for people with chronic conditions but also thinks that his constituents want him to vote this way and that “the most vocal are women”. I’d like to see these vocal constituents, as the only ones I know of are urging him not to vote this way.
*Edit: Since my screencap is so small and I can’t get it to be any clearer this is what was said:
1.) Most of the fatal fetal anomalies like skeletal displasias, malformed diaphragms, Edward’s syndrome, Anencephaly, and Patau’s syndrome are detected after 20 weeks. Forcing women to carry nonviable fetuses to term is cruel psychological trauma for women who have to tell well-meaning people in the bank and supermarket that the baby is not viable and yet she must carry it to term. Can you imagine having this conversation everyday around your town? Can you imagine your children or your daughters-in-law being forced to have this conversation with well-meaning strangers? It is an undue burden.
2.) The bill will be challenged in court since it is patently unconstitutional, which will be an astronomical cost for Arkansans, as Governor Beebe pointed out yesterday. In a climate where fiscal responsibility is an important consideration, this is an undue cost for Arkansas taxpayers.
3.) While you may personally disagree with the medical practice, women who get abortions at 20 weeks or beyond really want their children but the medical complications threaten the fetus or the mother.
Everyone wants to reduce the number of abortions in the state but we do that with comprehensive sex education and contraception. The data is clear that more stringent abortion legislation leads to an increase in the number of abortions and those abortions are extremely unsafe.
Thank you for your time and for serving all of the people in the state.
1. The bill was amended to take into account the very issues you brought up.
2. There is every reason based on recent court decisions to believe the bill is constitutional The Attorney General budget will be the same with or without this bill.
3. Was answered in #1
4. My constituents sent me here to vote for this bill. The most vocal are women.
5. I agree with them.
Submission: Pro-choice study on Planned Parenthood Clients
A wonderful woman by the name of Wanda Kolomyjec is conducting a study via interviewing clients of Planned Parenthood. The study will be published into a book and her main goal is to shed light on the fact that Planned Parenthood is a vital source of reproductive healthcare, not an abortion factory. Whether you are a life long client or just went in for an STD test, Wanda wants to hear from you. She is the director of Social Circles of Knowledge, a wonderful org. that promotes healthy conversation about hot button issues. If you are interested in sharing your experience(s) with Planned Parenthood, you can reach Wanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Someone asked us:
If I am on the pill, and I had to take a pregnancy test, would the hormones in the pill affect the result of the test?
Nope — pregnancy tests are 99 percent accurate, whether or not you’re on the pill or any other form of birth control. The hormone that a pregnancy test detects in your urine is called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and it’s only produced during pregnancy. It’s not found in hormonal birth control (which contains the hormones progestin and estrogen).
Taking a pregnancy test correctly usually means waiting to take it after your missed period, although some brands can be taken a few days before. You can read the label on the box to see when it becomes effective.
-Nina at Planned Parenthood
Plus you get to hear about all the awful anti health/abortion/Planned Parenthood laws that are being passed.
Can I bring someone with me to my pelvic exam?
Someone asked us:
At Planned Parenthood, can I bring my boyfriend in with me for my pelvic exam?
A lot of people feel a little nervous before a pelvic exam, especially if it’s their first time getting one. And holding someone’s hand always helps when you’re freaked out at the doctor’s office. But many health care providers don’t allow other people in the exam room, for a number of different reasons. This can vary one from provider to the next, so you should call your local Planned Parenthood health center and ask about their policy. But there’s a chance he’ll have to wait for you in the waiting room.
That might sound really scary, but take a deep breath: getting through a pelvic exam – whether alone or with your boyfriend in the room — is something you can absolutely do. A good first step would be to read up on what happens during a pelvic exam, so you have a sense of what the experience will be like. While some parts of a pelvic exam might be a little uncomfortable, none of it should be painful.
When you go for your exam, it’s okay to tell your health care provider if you’re feeling nervous. She can help explain what’s happening and what everything will feel like, which can make the whole thing a lot less scary.
- Alex at Planned Parenthood
Today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that South Dakota has the right to order doctors to tell women seeking abortions that they’re likelier to kill themselves if they go through with the procedure, even though that’s a blatant lie.
The controversial provision is part of a larger law that was introduced in 2005 and might as well be called, “Everything You Need to Know About Abortion, According to People Who Aren’t Medical Professionals But Love Obsessing Over Your Fetus.” It requires doctors to let women know that they have “an existing relationship with the unborn human being under the law” and that “an abortion will terminate the life of a human being.” So helpful, given as most women seeking abortions have absolutely no idea what the medical procedure ultimately entails. They thought they were just going to get some frozen yogurt!
But the most troubling part of the law is the part that refers to suicide advisory, which is why Planned Parenthood has been fighting it for the past few years. As the AP reports:
The ruling ultimately was a battle of medical studies. Statistics show women who have had abortions have higher rates of suicide compared with women who have given birth, but the sides don’t agree that there’s a causal link between abortion and suicide.
The four dissenting judges said multiple studies cited failed to take into account factors such as pre-existing mental health issues, domestic violence and a young age at the time of pregnancy.
“The most reliable evidence in the record shows that abortion does not have a causal relationship to the risk of suicide and that South Dakota’s mandated advisory is not truthful, but actually misleading,” Circuit Judge Diana Murphy wrote for the dissenting side.
So basically, even though all of the studies that support the link between suicide and abortion are considered bullshit by practically every legitimate medical expert out there, the state ultimately gets to decide which science is the best science.
“On its face, the suicide advisory presents neither an undue burden on abortion rights nor a violation of physicians’ free speech rights,” the court wrote in its majority opinion, which sounds like quite the compromise. Tomato, Tomahto, who cares if some women are bullied into making medical choices because they’re afraid of repercussions that don’t actually exist?
Scariest of all is how this ruling will almost certainly serve as a precedent for future court cases. If states can pick and choose which scientific studies are real, it’ll be harder to stop anti-choice legislators from passing bills on everything from “fetal pain” to abstinence education. Let’s call this what it is: a legal excuse to lie to women to back an ideological agenda.
“This ruling by the 8th Circuit Court represents the greatest intrusion by the government into the patient doctor relationship to date,” said Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. Of course, not everyone is disappointed. “We are thrilled,” said Leslee Unruh, the founder of a local crisis pregnancy center. “This has been a long time working from 2005. It’s a long, long haul. We are so excited for the women of South Dakota that they have this victory.”