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Showing posts from March, 2013

Is the Arkansas abortion legislation that far off-base?

The Arkansas legislature is poised to enact a restrictive abortion law, over the veto of its governor, that is drawing strong condemnation from the pro-choice activists and politicians.

The law is 100% guaranteed to be held unconstitutional under Roe and Casey, but it is worth examining anyway. The law would generally permit abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy. After 12 weeks, abortions would be generally banned, with a number of exceptions: threats to the life of the mother, pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, and "highly lethal fetal disorders" (New York Times). A separate legislative proposal would generally ban abortions after 20 weeks, with life, rape, and incest exceptions, but not a fetal disorder exception.

Observations:

First, the two proposed laws are attempting to peg their 'cut points'-- 12 weeks and 20 weeks-- on the ability of technicians to detect a fetus' heartbeat by abdominal ultrasound (at 12 weeks), and the assertion tha…