In 2017, the state of Alabama passed a law allowing pregnant women’s husbands to stop them from having an abortion, even in cases of spousal rape. And a woman’s parents or legal guardians can also sue to stop the abortion if she is a minor.

Act 45, or the “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act,” also prohibits all dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures (where the doctor removes the fetus/unborn child from the womb with surgical tools), making the procedure a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine or six years in prison.

Most second trimester abortions will also be banned.

State Representative Andy Mayberry, who co-sponsored the bill and is also the president of Arkansas Right to Life, called D&E a “gruesome, barbaric procedure” 1 that “no civilized society should embrace”. 2

However, Holly Dickson, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, believed the bill might not be constitutional, saying, “They created a whole new right ― the right of a husband or family member to sue a doctor on behalf of an adult patient. I cannot begin to tell you what the intent was, but we have raised concerns about that provision and the entire rest of the bill, which is unconstitutional.”3

Though the ACLU of Arkansas planned to challenge the abortion law in court before it went into effect, it is currently on the books.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision on Roe Vs. Wade protects a woman’s right to have an abortion up until the fetus is viable outside the womb (around 22 weeks of pregnancy).

Sources and References

  1. The Independent, February 3, 2017.
  2. The Independent, February 3, 2017.
  3. The Independent, February 3, 2017.