Arkansas Governor: New Abortion Law Was Designed To Be Unconstitutional
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that the near-total abortion ban was meant to be bait for the U.S. Supreme Court. In other news from Arkansas, the legislature voted Monday to require a woman undergoing an abortion to first view an ultrasound.
Arkansas Governor Admits Near-Total Abortion Ban Is Unconstitutional
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Sunday admitted that the near-total abortion ban he signed into law earlier this month is unconstitutional, but said the bill was designed to “directly challenge” the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. “It is not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now,” Hutchinson told CNN's Dana Bash of the Arkansas law, before saying he thinks there’s a “very narrow chance” the Supreme Court will ultimately hear the case. (Ponciano, 3/21)
Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Says He Only Signed Abortion Bill As A ‘Direct Challenge’ To Roe V. Wade
Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said over the weekend that he signed a sweeping anti-abortion bill into law earlier this month with the sole purpose of setting into motion a review of the landmark Roe v. Wade case. During an interview with CNN's State of the Union, Hutchinson confirmed that the "whole design of the law" was to overturn the Supreme Court’s current case law. "And so I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade. That was the intent of it," Hutchinson said. "I think there's a very narrow chance that the Supreme Court will accept that case, but we will see. (De Lea, 3/22)
Also from Arkansas —
Arkansas Lawmakers OK Ultrasound Requirement For Abortions
Arkansas lawmakers on Monday voted to require a woman undergoing an abortion to first view an ultrasound, the latest restriction to advance in a state that has already enacted an outright abortion ban. The majority-Republican House voted 74-14 for the requirement and sent it to GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The state Senate approved the measure earlier this month. Similar requirements are in place in Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. (3/22)
In other news about abortion here and abroad —
Supreme Court Conservatives Want To Topple Abortion Rights -- But Can't Agree On How
Conservative Supreme Court justices have demonstrated a desire to reverse prior decisions on abortion rights. The question, with Chief Justice John Roberts no longer the undisputed swing vote on abortion, is when and how far at least five justices will go to overturn rulings that support a constitutional right to end a pregnancy. The aims of individual justices, based on their recent writings, range from reversing Roe v. Wade to forbidding clinics from challenging restrictions on behalf of women to relaxing the standard that states must meet to limit women's access to the procedure. (Biskupic, 3/19)
Will At-Home Abortions Make Roe V. Wade Obsolete?
The battle over abortion rights has a dramatic new front: the fight over whether the Biden administration will make pills available online. Even as they keep a sharp eye on the increasingly conservative Supreme Court, activists, lawmakers and medical groups are pushing Biden’s FDA to lift restrictions on a 20-year-old drug for terminating early pregnancies. Such a decision would dramatically remake the abortion landscape by making the pills available online and by mail even if the Supreme Court overturns or cuts back Roe vs. Wade. (Miranda Ollstein and Tahir, 3/20)
Polish Doctors Torn Over Mental Health As Grounds To Bypass Near-Total Abortion Ban
When Polish doctors told Paulina, 29, that her unborn child had no kidneys and would die upon birth, she knew she couldn’t go through with the pregnancy. ... [But] Polish law now considers only incest, rape or a threat to a mother’s life and health as valid grounds to terminate a pregnancy. ... Two weeks after Paulina learned of her baby’s condition, abortion rights activists helped her to find a psychiatrist prepared to state that she needed to have an abortion on mental health grounds, and her abortion went ahead. This makes her one of perhaps only around a dozen women who has managed to get an abortion on such grounds since the ruling came into effect, abortion support groups told Reuters. (Plucinska and Stezycki, 3/20)
A Woman Lost Her Pregnancy But Was Jailed For Abortion. She Later Died.
Manuela, a mother of two in rural El Salvador, couldn't even walk to the hospital. In February 2008, her relatives had to wrap her in a hammock and transport her as best they could to the health center two hours away, after a pregnant Manuela suffered severe pelvic pain, started hemorrhaging, expelled her fetus and passed out. A day later, still bleeding, she was interrogated by a doctor at the hospital who came to the conclusion that Manuela did not have an obstetric emergency, but instead had an abortion. Manuela, who had a visible mass on her neck, was shackled for days, then arrested and charged with aggravated homicide, accused of killing her fetus. The masses in her body turned out to be cancer, but she did not get timely and appropriate chemotherapy in jail where she was serving a 30-year sentence. She died in April 2010.Manuela's story, described in detail in a report from the Center for Reproductive Rights, was argued last week at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. (Linares and Nunez, 3/17)