Arkansas introduces a “heartbeat bill” that would jail doctors for performing abortions after 6 weeks

candy heartsLooks like Arkansas is the latest state to consider a so-called “heartbeat bill.”

Arkansas would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected under a bill introduced by a Republican senator Monday, a proposal that would prohibit the medical procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Sen. Jason Rapert filed legislation that would require a test to detect a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed. If one is detected, a woman could not have an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and if a mother’s life is in danger.

Doctors who performed abortions after the cut off would be punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

As we noted a couple years ago when Ohio became the first state to try to pull this stunt, by leaving just two weeks for most women to find out they’re pregnant and get an abortion, laws like these are essentially out-right bans. Really, there is little difference between a law like this and a so-called Personhood measure–or, for that matter, a law that simply says “Abortion is not allowed.” 

As far as I can tell, the only benefit of choosing fetal heartbeat as the arbitrary cut-off point is that it gives anti-choicers a chance to get creative with absurd advocacy tactics like having fetuses “testify” in the legislature and sending heart-shaped balloons to their opponents.

Ohio’s heartbeat bill ultimately died because legislators were concerned “that the resulting law might have been found unconstitutional.” Um, ya think? Perhaps before anti-choicers in Arkansas decided they do not actually want to spend time and money to defend a law that’s in direct violation of Roe v. Wade, they’ll have a chance to run a campaign using candy hearts? Seems like that’s just waiting to happen.

Image via.

and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

3 Comments

  1. Posted January 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    The second-to-last sentence is problematic. Roe is not the law of the land, and so it’s irrelevant if this law is in “direct violation” of Roe (and besides, part of anti-choicers tactic may be to challenge it in order to argue for a reversal, although this may not be their goal with this ban). Read up on Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey to understand what law governs repro rights in this day and age: undue burden standard pre-viability.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood_v._Casey

  2. Posted January 30, 2013 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    Wyoming defeated a fetal heartbeat bill in our House of Representative on Monday evening. My reward for speaking out at the committee hearing was being identified by my first name and place of employment in the statewide newspaper as a woman who had an abortion. I’m glad the bill failed, not so thrilled by the local media.

  3. Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I never understood why people were concerned about heartbeats. The heart is a pump. What makes it more significant than lungs or the digestive system. If they were going to try to use an organ as a cut-off point for abortions, then the brain would be a more logical choice. Glad this failed

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

172 queries. 0.351 seconds