It’s no secret that laws banning dilation and evacuation procedures, or, essentially, abortion after just roughly 12-14 weeks gestation in direct violation of women’s right to abortion until fetal viability, are repressive attacks on women’s bodily autonomy. But in case you thought these laws couldn’t get anymore repressive, boy, does Arkansas see you.
This week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson who is, unsurprisingly, a Republican, signed off on the “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act,” which, on top of blocking the objectively safe D&E procedure, additionally permits a woman’s husband to sue the doctor who provides her with an abortion for civil damages or “injunctive relief,” in essence, allowing men to block their wives from having an abortion.
Restrictions on abortion are already in themselves the most outright attacks on women’s autonomy and sovereignty possible in the 21st century, sending the message that fertilized eggs have human rights while incontrovertibly living women don’t. But on top of this, the new Arkansas law throws us back a century by regarding women as mere objects at their husbands’ disposal. Perhaps it’s one thing to say abortion is a decision families and their doctors rather than lawmakers should be making is one thing, but to assert that a woman’s bodily autonomy comes second to the wishes of her husband is entirely another.
To state that women aren’t the property of their husbands might seem obvious, but the fact that this law could not only pass Arkansas’ legislature to make it to the governor’s desk and be signed off on shows that to many people, it isn’t. Even if the law didn’t horrendously infringe on women’s constitutional right to an abortion prior to fetal viability, the clause that essentially hands men the right to prevent their wives from having the procedure is problematic in itself: Women should have the right to an abortion not because their husbands allow them to, but because they’re human beings and abortion is a human right.
At any rate, for all the men out there who dislike abortion, here’s an idea: Don’t have one. And if it’s not even biologically possible for you to have, maybe, just maybe it’s not your place to make decisions about it.