The fight for reproductive rights in the U.S. has escalated with the signing of a new law that will allow husbands to file lawsuits against doctors to prevent their wives from undergoing abortions. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson quietly signed the Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act during the last week of January. The new law bans dismemberment abortion, the most commonly-used type of procedure for termination of second trimester pregnancies. One of the provisions of the law provides for husbands to sue doctors for monetary damages or injunctive relief to prevent the procedure from going forward, The Huffington Post reported. If the patient seeking an abortion is a minor, her parents or legal guardian can also sue to stop the procedure under the new law.
The law also provides no exceptions for rape and incest, a point that raised concerns with some Arkansas lawmakers, who said such a provision was never even considered by Arkansas legislators. “It was not something that was talked about on the Senate floor,” Arkansas state Senator Joyce Elliott said. “If we cannot make headway on something like an exception for rape and incest, I think it just felt kind of fruitless to make some sense out of the rest of what was in the bill.”
The law won’t go into effect until later this year and it is certain to be met with legal challenges. According to CNN, the Arkansas ACLU denounced the law as unconstitutional and vowed to challenge it in court. The new law comes amid the emergence of data that shows abortions are at an historic low in the United States, and as House Republicans have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood.
Read the full story at CNN.