New Arkansas Law Will Allow Husbands to Sue Wives to Stop an Abortion, Even in Rape Cases

A new law in Arkansas would allow husbands to sue their wives to prevent an abortion.

Arkansas flag

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Arkansas flag

A new law in Arkansas will allow a husband to stop his wife from having an abortion by suing the doctor tasked with performing it. In order for the lawsuit to be legal, the husband has to be the father of the child. In case you were wondering, the law would still apply in cases of spousal rape.

The soon-to-be-applied legislation is known as "the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act," and though its central claim is that it prohibits what the law (using an inaccurate, propagandandistic term favored by the pro-life movement for political reasons) calls "dismemberment abortion," a clause in the law gives the husband the aforementioned right to sue the doctor to prevent his wife from going through with one. Now that it's been signed by the state's governor, Asa Hutchinson, it will go into effect later this year.

Not surprisingly, the ACLU of Arkansas will make their case that the law is unconstitutional, and plan to challenge it in court before it's enforced.

According to CNN, state Senator Joyce Elliott claims the part about the husband having the right to sue wasn't debated a whole lot before it was passed. "It was not something that was talked about on the Senate floor," 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 (...) They don't see the outrage in constantly putting the thumb on women to dictate what they can do and not do."

In contrast to what Elliott said, state Senator Missy Irvin supported the new rule. "I think a woman does have control over her own body," she told CNN. "[B]ut when you have created a life, you created a life with someone else."

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Similar laws in Kansas and Oklahoma are currently tied up in their states' court systems.

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