ONCE MORE FIGHTING ABORTION: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
to pollution protection, gay discrimination and protecting universities against sexual assault claims on Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's
busy national litigation agenda. (No, still nothing from her on unconstitutional payday lending
in the state she was elected to serve.)
In a news release laden with inflammatory language borrowed from anti-abortion groups, Rutledge said she'd join 21 other states in trying to reinstate an Alabama law invalidated in federal court that bans an anti-abortion procedure that is the safest and most commonly used in second trimester abortions.
Rutledge claims states have authority to "protect human life" with laws that target the dilation and evacuation procedure. (Arkansas just passed such a law.) Anti-abortion groups call the procedure a "dismemberment abortion" in which surgical tools are used to remove portion of a fetus from the uterus. Depending on how laws are written, this ban can effectively stop abortions at 14 weeks, several months before viability. The U.S. Supreme Court has, until now, repeatedly said states cannot ban pre-viability abortions.
Such laws have been struck down in Kansas and Alabama. The ACLU of Arkansas says it will challenge the Arkansas law as soon as practically possible. It takes effect in August.
The law in Arkansas is particularly offensive to women's rights. It gives husbands a veto on use of this abortion procedure. It also has no rape or incest exception.
Rutledge's news release didn't contain some background readily available, such as from Newsweek:
The World Health Organization recommends D&E as the surgical method of abortion for women who are more than 12 to 14 weeks pregnant. It is “the safest and most effective surgical technique for later abortion, where skilled, experienced providers are available,” according to the group......
"If a woman doesn't have the option [of D&E] or if physicians don't have that as an option, then they have to use a procedure that's either less appropriate for her, or perhaps less safe depending on her medical circumstances," says Leslie McGorman, deputy political director of NARAL, a pro-choice advocacy organization. "It's similar in what we've seen in other bans in that there's an inherent danger in eliminating any type of option for a physician."
Rutledge, in short, values a pre-viability fetus more than a living woman. Her record in defending Arkansas against lawsuits over laws limiting women's medical care is so far unblemished — no wins for her office.