Family

Arkansas Wants Dads to Be Able to Save Their Unborn Babies

New law would also outlaw inhumane 'dismemberment' abortions

A clause in a new Arkansas law will give a husband a voice in the future of his unborn child — by allowing him to sue a doctor to stop a “dismemberment” abortion.

The law, called the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, was passed and signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Jan. 27, and goes into effect later this year. A dismemberment abortion is the most common procedure used in second-trimester abortions and does — horrifically — just what its name indicates. It pulls a baby still in utero apart, limb from limb.

“I think a woman does have control over her own body, but when you have created a life, you created a life with someone else,” said one state lawmaker.

The bill does not prohibit the use of the procedure if it is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant woman, and it also doesn’t ban a second-trimester abortion by any other methods.

Also, the husband has to be the father of the child to bring a case to court, reports CNN.

The ACLU of Arkansas, predictably, is waving its arms frantically over this law, claiming it is unconstitutional and asserting that it will challenge it in court before it goes into effect. The ACLU is joined by liberal lawmakers who claim there is no exemption for rape or incest, saying a woman’s rapist could theoretically file suit to stop the abortion.

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One Arkansas lawmaker agrees with the local ACLU. “It was not something that was talked about on the Senate floor,” state Sen. Joyce Elliott told CNN affiliate KARK. “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.”

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A national pro-life advocacy group, Pro-Life, dismisses this idea.

“The law is to prohibit later-term abortion procedures, and it does allow for the husband, if he’s the father of the child, to sue to prevent the abortion,” Ann Scheidler, vice president of the Pro-Life Action League, told LifeZette. “But another piece of this law is that if the plaintiff is guilty of criminal conduct, then he can’t sue. If she [the pregnant woman] has been raped — and if a woman is raped she should report it to make sure the rapist gets caught and punished — the plaintiff would have no standing in court. It’s misunderstanding exactly what the law says.”

Sen. Elliott, obviously aligned with the popular feminist stance of putting a woman’s health rights above a baby’s life, added, “They don’t see the outrage in constantly putting the thumb on women to dictate what they can do and not do.”

Arkansas Sen. Missy Irvin believes husbands should have a say in the fate of their baby’s life. “I think a woman does have control over her own body, but when you have created a life, you created a life with someone else,” she told CNN.

Kansas and Oklahoma passed similar abortion laws, which are tied up in the courts, according to news station KFSM.

Related: How America Pays for Abortion

It seems incredible in a supposedly enlightened society in 2017 to even be discussing whether a father can protect his unborn child from dismemberment. For years, pro-life groups have attempted to educate the public about the horrors of dismemberment abortion — and sometimes, people listen.

In his 2000 dissent in Stenberg v. Carhart, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy quoted Dr. Leroy Carhart, a well-known late-term abortionist, who said: “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”

And in an article in the Mississippi Law Journal Summer 2010 entitled, “Partial-Birth Abortion is Not Abortion,” the authors wrote, “The 2007 United States Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart [Carhart II\l] would seem to end the long fight over partial-birth abortion. Ever since the 1992 disclosure of the details of the partial-birth procedure — which Congress later described as ‘gruesome and inhumane’ — the majority of Americans, both pro-choice and pro-life, have favored prohibiting it.”

It is a sad state of affairs in our society that it takes a state court to outlaw what should never have existed in the first place.

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