Thursday, April 4, 2013
Constant Litigation Over Abortion Restrictions Does Harm Even When The Measures Are Blocked
The New Republic: Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Laws Are Dangerous Even If Judges Reject Them, by Molly Redden:
On March 6, the Arkansas legislature enacted the toughest abortion law in the nation, banning the procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The accomplishment stood for all of 20 days before North Dakota, with a law Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed on Tuesday, banned abortion at about six weeks. Both laws prohibit abortions once providers can detect a fetal heartbeat, a milestone with no meaning to the federal laws governing abortion. (The Arkansas law requires providers to do so with an abdominal ultrasound, and the North Dakota one by any technology available, including a transvaginal probe, which can detect a heartbeat weeks earlier than an abdominal ultrasound.) The North Dakota law, by requiring that providers try to detect a heartbeat so early, effectively bans abortions for women who might not even realize they are pregnant. In practice, it might make transvaginal ultrasounds mandatory for women seeking abortions early in their pregnancies.1 But the effects of these laws are not intended to be felt only by women living in Arkansas and North Dakota. The people who support these laws dream that they will provide a legal basis for overturning Roe v. Wade. . . .