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New York & Arkansas: Updated

March 6, 2013

**Update, March 7:  This happened.    No word at this time about litigation.  Interesting list of exceptions: rape, incest, life endangerment, fetal anomalies – not health.**

Last week, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe vetoed a bill to ban abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Yesterday, the Arkansas State Senate voted to override his veto, and the Arkansas State House will likely take the same vote today.

In other words, the state of Arkansas will very likely become the first state in the nation to ban abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy.  The bill is called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, and similar bills have been introduced in other states as well.

There are nine other states that have passed 20-week abortion bans, which, interestingly enough, Arkansas just enacted as well – by overriding the Governor’s veto.  That law went into effect in Arkansas last week, on February 28.

According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, Arkansas already has nine laws that restrict abortion access.  NINE.  One of them is a pre-Roe ban that is currently unenforceable but was never taken off the books.  They also subject a person who is seeking a desired abortion to biased counseling, mandatory delays, parental permission if you’re under 18 – the list goes on.  Although, at least prior to the 12-week ban being voted on, the state is not the worst in the nation – that distinction, according to NARAL, goes to Louisiana.  You can check out the full report card for all states here.

I remain baffled by the fact that there are people whose sole reason for being is to restrict a woman’s access to the best medical care she decides she needs.  Abortion needs to remain safe and legal for a woman to consider, if and when she needs it.  Decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of a medical provider.  No one invites politicians to the family dining room to discuss these decisions – and no one should.  Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatments.  No one would expect men to turn to politicians for advice about prostate health.  Politicians should, simply, not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy – or in a doctor’s decisions about how to advise a patient about the best possible care for her situation.

So what does this have to do with New York?  Simply that there are people who feel the same way here – and they work to restrict a woman’s access to a safe and legal medical procedure as well.  I think there were 8 of them outside of my office this morning.  I’d like to show you a picture of them, but I didn’t bother to stop – I have work to do, protecting a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions.  You should join me. 

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