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Fetuses, fetuses and more fetuses: Anti-abortion bills win Arkansas legislative approval

Posted by Max Brantley on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM

The House calendar this afternoon is loaded with the Stepford Republican Caucus' grand obsession:

* 20TH-WEEK ABORTION BAN: Rep. Andy Mayberry's bill to ban several dozen late-term abortions in Arkansas every year by making them illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with no consideration for a mother's health or the grave fetal problems that prompt these abortions. The bill is based on the disputed theory of fetal pain and using the work of a doctor who says his work has nothing to do with abortion. Not that facts matter. UPDATE: The action today gave House concurrence to a Senate amendment to allow rape and incest exceptions. They were added 80-10, which completes action on the bill. Gov. Mike Beebe has indicated constitutional objections, but hasn't said if he'll sign it or not.

Sen. Gary Stubblefield's bill
allows a woman to kill someone she believes is threatening the well-being of her fetus. No retreat is necessary. She may shoot on perception of what she "reasonably believes" is a threat sufficient for use of force. REMINDER: Sen. Jim Hendren has a bill coming to push definition of unborn child up to the zygote stage, opening the door for fetus-defense shootings within hours after sex. Be warned. CORRECTION: Stubblefield's bill already had the zygote covered. Hendren's bill, in addition to changing the definition of child for the criminal code, also opens the door to wrongful death lawsuits from the moment an egg is fertilized. Women already had a right of self-defense. Bill described as effort to close gap in law, apparently based on an isolated case in Michigan. UPDATE: It passed 93-0.

* 12TH WEEK ABORTION BAN: Jason Rapert goes Andy Mayberry eight weeks better with a bill that prohibits abortion if a hearbeat can be detected. Rape, incest and fetal abnormalities are excepted, among other amendments. The bill is more clearly unconstitutional than Mayberry's, a version of which has won approval from one lower court. The U.S. Supreme Court rulings in multiple cases still say that states may not prohibit a woman's right to choose an abortion before the ability of a fetus to live outside the womb, generally around 24 weeks. Rep. Ann Clemmer, who once claimed to be a Rockefeller Republican, described this bill, unbelievably, as middle ground and a compromise. It would be the most far-reaching limitation on abortion rights in the country with the 12-week cutoff, except for what she called "extreme" circumstances. She called it also a way to "rein in elective, late-term abortions." There's no way to describe this but a bald-faced lie because it would ban hundreds of early term abortions.

Rep. John Edwards spoke against the bill, beginning by saying, "I support the Constitution." The rule of law is important, he said. Courts have ruled on the subject more than once, he said. He said he had decided "to trust women on this issue and place my faith in the Constitution."

Rep. Kim Hammer said there's a higher court than the Supreme Court and "it is ruled by God." He said the bill protected women who are victims. "I ask you to protect that baby ... from becoming a victim."

Rep. Homer Lenderman, who voted for the Mayberry bill, said Arkansas Right to Life does not support the bill and he doesn't either, because it's unconstitutional and would cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in legal fees. Rep. Bob Ballinger said Right to Life also did not oppose the bill and he said he and others would take defense of the case "pro bono." He used the favorite anti-abortion argument that slavery was once allowed as was segregation. He said people who are "pro-life" have "no choice" but to challenge the law.

Rep. Patti Julian said the bill takes choices away from women. She related how a "pro-life" obstetrician had asked her why the legislature was spending time and money to litigate decided issues.

UPDATE: Bill passed 68-20, with two present. It goes to the governor after the Senate concurs in House amendments. He has said repeatedly that it's unconstitutional. He's unlikely to sign it. But, given the vote, will he veto it?

Here's the roll call. The nays:

C. Armstrong E. Armstrong J. Dickinson J. Edwards Ferguson Fielding
Hodges Julian Leding Love McElroy McGill
Murdock Nickels Perry Sabin D. Whitaker Williams
Word Wright

ON THE JUMP: Comment from the Center for Reproductive Rights:

Today the Arkansas House of Representatives approved an amended version of SB 134, a measure banning all abortions at 12 weeks of pregnancy with only narrow exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and to save the woman’s life.

The bill, which would be the earliest and most extreme abortion ban in the country, is now expected to head to Governor Mike Beebe’s desk if the Senate approves the House’s version of the bill.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, called on the State Senate and Governor Beebe to reject the bill:

“Let’s call this bill what it is: bumper-sticker message legislation with no chance of standing up in court, designed to dial the clock back 40 years on women’s rights.

“This extreme ban will either force women already facing tough economic circumstances to travel to a neighboring state to access constitutionally-protected health care or to turn to dangerous, clandestine options that could ruin or even end their lives.

“We strongly urge Governor Beebe to veto this archaic bill and send a strong statement to the anti-choice politicians in the Arkansas Legislature that this law is a gross violation of women’s constitutional rights.”

The Arkansas House also voted to send HB 1037 to Governor Beebe’s desk, another extreme anti-abortion bill banning abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization. The Center for Reproductive Rights plans to send letters urging the governor to veto both bills.

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held—first in Roe v. Wade and again in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that states cannot ban abortion prior to viability.

Last year, lawmakers in Ohio failed to pass early bans on abortion based on the detection of fetal heart tones—which can be as early as five or six weeks—after raising concerns about the likely legal battle over the law’s constitutionality. Although similar measures have been introduced already this year in North Dakota and Mississippi, no state has ever passed such a bill.

Comments (61)

Showing 1-25 of 61

Since our Governor won't lift a finger to help I guess our only option is to take the bodies of pregnant women who die due to these horrible new laws and throw them up on the lawn of the Capitol for all to see. Let the state bury them, it killed why not?

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Posted by DeathbyInches on 02/21/2013 at 1:08 PM

Start up the Jane network.

report 4 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by Geezyoy on 02/21/2013 at 1:18 PM

It is a great poverty to kill an unborn child so you may live as you wish. ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta


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Posted by Stephen Anthony Lafferty on 02/21/2013 at 1:47 PM

Stubblefield's bill applies from "conception"

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Posted by mudturtle on 02/21/2013 at 1:50 PM

You should research Mother Teresa before quoting her.

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Posted by Hackett on 02/21/2013 at 1:51 PM

This all seems to be taking up an inordinate amount of time in the session...don't they have real problems to worry about?

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Posted by Jennifer Coates Johnson on 02/21/2013 at 2:05 PM

It is sad that we talk about "fetuses" so often when they are unborn babies. Here is a cartoon that deals with abortion.…

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Posted by SalineRepublican on 02/21/2013 at 2:18 PM

Now can the krazy klowns brigade in the House and Senate start to work on the state's business since they have now covered the Pope and Roman Catholic church's position in all this unnecessary, unneeded, and most illegal legislation while blowing 45 days of what should have been a 60 day session? Now the party to reduce state spending just committed the state to spending to defending laws which are in violation of current SCOTUS positions. Good luck with that and while you are reachimg for your cigar, get your checkbook put also as you should have to pay for the court appeal costs when you lose,

Funny that the protestant church didn't give a damb about unborn fetuses until 1970. Up to that time they were on their anti-integration push. Now we get both plus hatred for the poor. the less fortunate, and ill in one group of elected idiots-the krazy klown brigate, e.g., the Tea Pot brain branch of the GOP.

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Posted by couldn't be better on 02/21/2013 at 2:35 PM

UPDATE: In a grandstanding move meant to cement his reputation among the Freshman Republican retards, Legislator Goober McShitferbrains introduced a new bill aiming to challenge the Rapert/Stubblefield Dumb-Off that would protect the unborn prior to intercourse. In McShitferbrains bill, at the point in which a woman consumes 2 or more wine coolers while listening to anything from Van Morrison's Moondance album, it would be illegal for anyone to touch her swimsuit area and the woman would be allowed to shoot anyone, anywhere, any time, for any reason.

Not to be out-dumbed, Rapert is said to be considering amending his bill to remove the zygote language and replace with "when a girl reaches puberty....."

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Posted by RevJerryLee on 02/21/2013 at 3:01 PM

"The bill is more clearly unconstitutional than Mayberry's, a version of which has won approval from one lower court."

That approval in Aug 2012 was put on hold in December by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It's pending their decision which is where it is now.

The other one that was appealed in Georgia was temporarily blocked in Dec 12 and is awaiting a ruling also.

As far as I can the other GOP states where they passed these haven't been appealed yet, most likely awaiting these rulings. NE did the first in 2010 and 9-10 states followed after the 2010 elections.

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Posted by Cindi Cobb on 02/21/2013 at 3:16 PM

Let me get this straight. If someone kills a fetus with a vacuum hose, it's legal and everything is ok. If a drunk driver kills a fetus, it's negligent homicide. You people make perfect sense!

report 6 likes, 17 dislikes   
Posted by arhogfan501 on 02/21/2013 at 3:27 PM

wow - I read arhogfan501 other posts. He always seems angry. I'd hate to be his dog.

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Posted by mudturtle on 02/21/2013 at 3:43 PM

"arhogfan501" you are exactly right about the fact that when aborting unborn babies is allowed then one's morality keeps getting turned upside down when murder is condemned elsewhere but there is no moral basis for condemning it. Take a look at this editorial picture that puts this in perspective and it makes your point.

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Posted by SalineRepublican on 02/21/2013 at 3:50 PM

Then, where is the bill to require that child support to begin at conception??

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Posted by Kathy L. Hall on 02/21/2013 at 4:01 PM

Arhogfan501, the fetus is not a threat to the life of the drunk driver. It is a threat to the life of the pregnant female. One female died in the world from childbirth and pregnancy complications in the time it took me to type that sentence. The next five minutes, five more will die. Even minute another one dies. Abortions are self-defense.

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Posted by Cindi Cobb on 02/21/2013 at 4:05 PM

Unless the bill was amended, there's exceptions granted in case of rape and health threats. So I'm guessing your in favor of the bill now Cindi?

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Posted by arhogfan501 on 02/21/2013 at 4:11 PM

All of these so-called "pro-life" people are also "pro death penalty" and "pro-war" while being against funding for pre-natal care, WIC, pre-school, etc so the only logical conclusion is that they are "pro-fetus" since once they are born, they are on their own in the mean old world that they fully support.

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Posted by couldn't be better on 02/21/2013 at 4:16 PM

There is some approval here that I should research Mother Teresa before I quote her. I know enough about this Indian Catholic to quote truth when I encounter it. And we could all benefit from researching such a saintly person.

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Posted by Stephen Anthony Lafferty on 02/21/2013 at 4:19 PM

I could hug ya, Kathy L. Hall!

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Posted by DeathbyInches on 02/21/2013 at 4:23 PM

If Arkansas were going to invite so many lawsuits like this,
shouldn't it have elected a better Attorney General beforehand?

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Posted by lastmall on 02/21/2013 at 4:35 PM

No I am never in favor of unlawful bills. States do not have the power to override a USSC decision.

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Posted by Cindi Cobb on 02/21/2013 at 4:43 PM

One is by choice of the mother, the other is not.
You can grasp simple choice, can't you?

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Posted by lastmall on 02/21/2013 at 4:47 PM

Lafferty--check out those charities M. Teresa raised money for. There was nothing saintly about them. Best I can figure, they were on the same level as the laundries in Ireland, their "inmates" just as helpless.

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Posted by Verla Sweere on 02/21/2013 at 4:55 PM

The best child support before birth is love, good nutrition, pleasant sound and vibrations, and giving the body rest. Deva Premal, known for her meditative spiritual New Age music, sings the same sanskrit mantras that her daddy sang to her while she was in the womb.

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Posted by Stephen Anthony Lafferty on 02/21/2013 at 4:59 PM

I encourage research into Deva Premal and her transforming music. Then perhaps we can all sing and chant a sanskrit mantra like Om Namah Shivaya.

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Posted by Stephen Anthony Lafferty on 02/21/2013 at 5:06 PM
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