Starting later this month, Arkansas women will have to seek permission from the man who impregnated them before having an abortion.
Even if she does not want that man to know she is pregnant.
Even if that man was her abusive ex-boyfriend.
Even if that man was her rapist.
The law change, passed in March, allows a partner, abuser or even rapist to block a woman’s access to abortion if they don’t approve of the termination. It goes into effect at the end of July.
“The plain intention and unavoidable outcome of this scheme is to make it harder for a woman to access basic health care by placing more barriers between a woman and her doctor,” a representative for NARAL Pro-Choice told The Huffington Post on Monday.
The change falls under a law that says family members must agree on how to dispose of the remains of dead relatives—a term that has been expanded to include aborted foetuses.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood to fight the change. The groups have filed two lawsuits in a bid to "get legislators out of the exam room."
Meanwhile, this isn't the only way Arkansas women are being left behind when it comes to reproductive rights. Already, parents of girls under 18 seeking an abortion must first gain permission from their parents.
Additionally, women must show medical records of their entire pregnancy history, regardless of where, when and in what language they received previous treatments, in order to access abortion in the state.
Why we need to talk about the abortion scene in Glow. Post continues below.
A 48-hour delay is mandatory for all women seeking an abortion in Arkansas and the state bans abortion coverage in insurance plans.
"Every day, women in Arkansas and across the United States struggle to get the care they need as lawmakers impose new ways to shut down clinics and make abortion unavailable," a statement from the ACLU reads.
"We will fight politicians who not only seek to shame, punish or burden women for making these decisions but also try to push care out of reach."