Saturday, July 22, 2017
Women's rights in Arkansas under attack
From Julie A. Burkhart
Founder and CEO
Trust Women Foundation:
Arkansas is the latest state to put the lives of women in danger with a ban on the safest, most common second-trimester abortion procedure. If allowed to stand — and I can't imagine it will be because it's unconstitutional — physicians will be forced to use an unproven, risky procedure instead of a D&E (dilation and evacuation).
Why would any lawmaker want to put women at risk like that? You know the answer: politics.
As you also know, Kansas' ban, the Physician Intimidation and Criminalization Act, is stayed. But women face similar bans in Mississippi and West Virginia. Bans are enjoined in Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Arkansas' ban is set to go into effect, along with other anti-choice laws, on Aug. 1. A ban in Texas will take effect in September.
Arkansas also passed a law requiring women to notify and get consent from the man who impregnated them or family members about how fetal tissue should be disposed. That's essentially a work-around to require women to get permission to have an abortion.
Trust Women fought back against the D&E ban in Kansas with the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU and CRR have filed a lawsuit to block the most recent anti-choice laws in Arkansas.
I have deep concerns that other states will pass similar laws. What's at stake is nothing less than access to abortion care. As I've said before, Roe v. Wade may still stand —and seven in 10 Americans say it should, according to a Pew Research Center survey — but it doesn't mean a lot if women can't actually access abortion care.
On the home front, as I mentioned in our July newsletter, our Wichita clinic has complied with a new law requiring us to disclose medically unnecessary information about the physicians who provide abortion care for our patients.
We are awaiting a final decision on the Kansas D&E ban from the Kansas Supreme Court. But in the meantime, we are fighting this law actively in the court of public opinion. Please consider contributing $10, $15 or $30 monthly as part of our Circle of Trust. Monthly contributions not only keep our costs low, but they also mean we can broadcast the dangers of such abortion bans across the country with media statements, op-ed pieces and individual conversations.