Medicine & the Law - LawCall

Arkansas last week passed a law, which some may argue goes against Roe v Wade and the rights of a woman. The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was signed into law by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The law allows a woman’s husband to file suit against a doctor for civil damages if an abortion is performed. The suit may also block the woman from having an abortion if filed before the actual procedure is performed.

The law includes a clause that says if the husband is the baby’s father, he may file for monetary damages or injunctive relief. If he files for relief, the abortion may not be performed. In the case of rape or incest, the husband may not sue the doctor, but he may prevent the procedure from being performed.

Dilation and evacuation procedures are the most common types of abortions performed after 14 weeks gestation; the new law puts an end to that. There will be no more late-term abortions in Arkansas under the new law. And minors may not get abortions without the approval of a parent or guardian.

Of course, the ACLU is upset that this law creates a whole new right for a husband or family member to sue a doctor on behalf of an adult patient, or in the case of minors. The law also prevents doctors from performing abortions on underage teens without the consent of a parent or guardian.

The law will go into effect this summer, however, the ACLU plans to challenge the abortion law in court before that can happen. In four other states with similar laws, the courts struck down the laws citing the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade.

No matter your opinion on abortion, do you think this law is fair to women?

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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