Health Board adopts rule putting words in mouths of women seeking abortion: UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Health Board adopts rule putting words in mouths of women seeking abortion: UPDATE


The Arkansas State Board of Health voted 13-7 today to bow to legislative pressure and revised rules on abortion facilities to require women to say they are aware they are causing death of an unborn child.

 Dr. George Harper and Robbie Thomas-Knight objected. Harper said the language was inflammatory and hurtful and had nothing to do with safety or health, which is the board's responsibility. Knight called the language "shaming, blaming and inflammatory. "

Robert Brech, the Health Department chief financial officer, said he knew the board does not like the language but legislative language "will trump what board will do."
Clinics are already abiding by the statute, Brech said.

Knight has released a statement she made earlier to the health board on the issue:

Consumer Representative

In January, 2016, at the quarterly meeting and after serving on the Rules for Abortion Facilities sub-committee, I voted to change the language from "causing the death of the unborn child," "removing a dead unborn child" to the previous medical language, i.e. "termination of a pregnancy."

The Rules and Regulations for Abortion Facilities has been returned to the Board for approval to be sent for Public Comment with the same inflammatory language.

I object to the use of guilt-inducing, shaming and judgmental language in these state regulations. It is inhumane to use this language in the consent forms and the rules for these women who have made the difficult but constitutional decision to have an abortion. I do not think it is the State's role to guilt, take sides or judge a woman's decision. 

It is important that the Arkansas Health Board use accepted neutral medical language in its Rules and Regulations. If not, I must vote against the rules just as I would object to the State's use of racist, sexist and/or other discriminatory language. Also, I would object to religious discrimination and would stand up for separation of church and state. Isn't it our job to be neutral on religious and stand up for the health of all persons.

[signed] Robbie

Robbie Thomas-Knight, Ph.D is the Consumer Representative, appointed January 2014. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice for 30 years, and  a recipient of numerous naitional and state awards for her advocacy of psychology and mental health awareness. She is a mother, wife, sister and daughter. She is an advocate for civil rights for all.

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