With a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, you can expect red state lawmakers to file the most batshit crazy legislation they can conjure up, hoping it’ll lead to a lawsuit and an unfavorable ruling by a judge, so they can appeal it all the way up to Amy Coney Barrett and friends.
Here’s what that looks like in Arkansas: State Sen. Jason Rapert and State Rep. Mary Bentley have filed SB 6, the “Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortion in every case, at any time, unless a woman’s life was in danger. The bill would force women to have their rapists’ babies, and their abusers’ babies, and babies who won’t survive long after they’re delivered, and none of that is an exaggeration.
Bentley is a graduate of Harding College, a Church of Christ-affiliated school, who filed a bill in 2017 to literally allow Creationism and Intelligent Design into public schools. (The bill died in committee.)
And Rapert (below), as readers of this site know, is the Christian Nationalist who installed a stand-alone Ten Commandments monument outside the State Capitol, caught COVID after preaching at a mask-optional church, and threatened me for doing things like quoting him. He’s also planning to run for Lt. Governor of the state in 2022, perhaps alongside professional Christian liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Their bill is a perfect amalgamation of their collective delusions.
It references Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education — as if abortion is akin to systemic racism. It suggests science is on the side of anti-abortion zealots and that “scientific evidence… [documents] the massive harm that abortion causes to women.” It also claims, without evidence, that 60,069,971 abortions have occurred since Roe v. Wade — as if those are supposed to represent actual people.
If this bill went into effect, doctors who performed an abortion in Arkansas could be fined up to $100,000 and receive a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Rapert isn’t hiding his intentions, and the ACLU knows it:
“We believe that we have a court now that is more favorable than ever before to take a hard look at Roe v. Wade and make a decision that we believe could overturn it and abolish the abortion standard in the country,” Rapert said.
The ACLU of Arkansas criticized the lawmakers, calling the bill “divisive” and “unconstitutional” and urged them to focus on COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Executive Director Holly Dickson said the bill would intrude on Arkansan’s rights to make their own personal medical decisions and block them from care.
“Let’s be clear: if passed, this brazenly unconstitutional abortion ban will be struck down in court, and legislators who passed it will have achieved nothing but having wasted taxpayer dollars on an unlawful measure and diverted scarce resources from the urgent needs our communities face in the midst of an ongoing and devastating pandemic.
“For the health and safety of all Arkansans, we urge state lawmakers to shelve this divisive and unconstitutional measure and focus instead on addressing the critical challenges our communities face. We need economic, public health, and individual recovery from COVID-19 which is raging through our communities, causing untold suffering and hardship. People are dying, families are suffering, our students and schools are under-resourced and underfunded, the state is still criminalizing poverty, tenants lack protections, and we have racial injustice and voter suppression to tackle. This government overreach is at the expense of constituents’ well-being. Arkansans want and deserve more freedom, not less.”
For what it’s worth, this bill is so heavy-handed that it might be too much even for this Supreme Court, which prefers to rip up the Constitution slowly. They would arguably want to chip away at abortion rights in small doses, rather than risk a massive political backlash by doing it all at once.
But that’s still a long way away. For now, let’s be clear: Any Arkansas lawmaker who supports this bill wants women to suffer. It would be a gift to abusers everywhere — which is exactly what you’d expect from Christian lawmakers who care more about figments of their imagination than anyone who’s actually alive.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)