The new law, which could come into effect as early as this spring, will let family members block a woman’s termination by suing the abortion provider. And even more worryingly, it doesn’t include an exception for spousal rape or incest – meaning that the foetus’s father could sue even if they had raped the woman.
Arkansas representative Andy Mayberry, who co-signed Arkansas Act 45, told the Daily Beast that while the father of the foetus would be able to block the procedure, they would not be able to claim any monetary damages in rape or incest cases.
There is zero part of me that understands why a rapist or someone who got pregnant against their will, maybe incest, would have any right in that decision,’ Karen Musick, co-founder of Arkansas’s Abortion Support Network, told the Beast.
‘I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that there would be anyone who thinks otherwise.’
Act 45 also bans dilation and evacuation procedures – the safest and most common procedure carried out during the second trimester of pregnancy, being used in around 95% of cases.
Now, using the D&E procedure could be punishable by a $10,000 (£8,006) fine or six years in prison.
This effectively blocks abortions after the 14-week mark, as it has criminalised the safest procedure.