COLUMN: Arkansas’ new anti-abortion law shows the ignorance of government officials

Stricter abortion laws don’t eliminate abortions, they put women and girls everywhere at greater risk by restricting their access to safe health practices.

Campbell Biemiller is a first-year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about politics and entertainment for The Maneater.

In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill on March 9 that legalizes abortions only to save the mother’s life. The House voted 76-19 for the bill after support from the Senate, according to Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Those impregnated by rape, incest or those that simply don’t want a child aren’t allowed to have the procedure.

Arkansas is one of several states this year to sign abortion bans.

“[Arkansas’] overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions," Hutchinson said according to NBC News.

The issue with this style of decision-making comes down to a single word: “my.”

The governor considers himself “pro-life.” Through his own opinions, he is ignoring the opinions of his state’s citizens. While he is an abortion opponent himself, he should understand that not everyone has the same opinions as him. He should be an abortion-rights advocate for his people.

A pro-abortion-rights group wore red capes and white bonnets to symbolize “The Handmaid’s Tale” and protested outside the State Capitol prior to Hutchinson passing the bill.

In an effort to have the Supreme Court revisit the decision made in Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion-rights supporters, including Hutchinson, are trying to reverse monumental moments in history. It shouldn’t need to be said that women should have a right to their bodies and what happens inside them.

Right now, many people are still struggling economically from the pandemic. What people need at this time is security and health safety, not another law inhibiting people from choosing what is needed for their body, both mentally and physically.

The stricter abortion laws are not only a matter of sexism, but racism and classism as well.

“Restrictions on abortion affect women of color, immigrants, people who live in rural areas and people with low incomes,” Alexis McGill Johnson of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said.

People with these descriptions are already extremely targeted in Arkansas communities.

Missouri is one of the states with unethical abortion laws.

The only abortion clinic in Missouri is a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. Missouri requires multiple visits before performing an abortion; however, Planned Parenthood includes a pop-up menu recommending available appointments in Illinois. Abortions should be a health service accessible to all, and a single location is not beneficial to the majority of the state.

People who live in Kansas City and other cities on the opposite end of the state have to drive four hours or more just to start the painstaking process Missouri enforces for abortions. That’s unfair because it makes medical assistance inaccessible.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, as of January 2021, abortion would be illegal in Missouri, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The regulations continue, stating Missouri women must have counseling to discourage abortions and parental consent for minors. Patients’ insurance is only accepted if the pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother.

It’s unethical to enforce counseling on women because their right to choose is theirs alone. Outside influences like counseling and other people’s opinions have no justification for determining what a woman can do.

As states continue to pass anti-abortion laws, they are endangering women by taking away the option for safe, healthy procedures. Taking away easy access to abortions doesn’t stop them from happening; it makes women and girls resort to unsafe methods of terminating their pregnancies.

This puts women in a dangerous position because good healthcare is inaccessible. Stricter abortion laws are unethical because they restrict women who need abortions from getting proper treatment, which is ultimately detrimental to their lives.

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda works to provide reproductive rights for all women and girls. We at The Maneater encourage you to donate to this cause. Donations can be made at: https://blackrj.org/donate/

Edited by Sofi Zeman | szeman@themaneater.com

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