Back in March, Arkansas conservatives passed a bill that was called, The Arkansas Heartbeat Protection Act. The new law made it a crime for any doctor in that state to provide a woman with an abortion, even in emergency situations, after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Governor Mike Bebee, a democrat, vetoed the bill because he felt his state couldn't afford to foot the legal expenses of defending what he called, "a blatantly unconstitutional law." The good ol' boys in the legislature, however weren't in the mood to put up with some whiny logic so they overrode the veto and the law was set to go into effect in August of this year.
Well that was until yesterday, NBC News reported that U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright issued a temporary injunction blocking the law from being implemented, saying it was, "more than likely unconstitutional." M. Alex Johnson reported that Wright felt the 12 week standard criminalizes abortions before the accepted medical standard of fetus viability which is 24 weeks. Johnson quotes the judge as saying, "This act defines viability as something viability is not." She added, "The United States Supreme Court has consistently used viability as a standard with respect to any law that regulates abortion."
Johnson then quotes Josh Mesker, a spokesman for the Arkansas Family Council as saying the news was, "disappointing, but not unexpected." Mr. Mesker, who is biologically exempt from becoming pregnant by any means known to humankind, said the ultimate goal of his group is to get the Arkansas law presented to the Supreme Court where, "we expect to prevail." Mesker believes that it is not out of the realm of possibility that this version of the court would "readdress Roe v.Wade in a way that leads toward our position." Of course this extended and extremely expensive legal brawl would be paid for by the taxpayers of Arkansas, not the Arkansas Family Council. It would seem Governor Bebee had a point after all.
Johnson writes that, Talcott Camp, the Deputy Director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, one of the two groups who sought the injunction, said, "These laws are designed with one purpose--to eliminate all access to abortion care."
That is hardly telling us something new. Conservatives, fueled by a variety of Christian sects, denominations, and TV hucksters have been trying to chip away at Roe v. Wade almost from the day it was initially ruled on in 1973.
Actually the Arkansas statute seems outright liberal compared to a law the North Dakota legislature passed at about the same time. It bans all abortions after only 6 weeks. That is during a time frame so soon after conception that I'm informed by someone who should know--my wife--that most women don't even realize they are pregnant. Pretty clever of those crafty North Dakotans. You have to get an abortion before you know you're knocked up, because after you find out for sure it is too late. This would be a quaint variation on Joseph Heller's Catch-22
It is all part of the grand attempt to drag the nation and culture right back into the mythical 1950s. You know, that decade where gays were homos and black people couldn't eat, drink, or swim with everyone else--at least not where I was growing up at.
We should be able to shrug nonsense like this off, but this sort of recidivism is gaining traction in red states where legislatures are increasingly controlled by tea party hacks and cultural Inquisitors.
If democrats and progressives want to keep this country moving forward they are going to have to get back into local politics in a huge way. Every cancer starts small, but if ignored it will eventually kill you. Too many state offices are held by people who actually believe Barak Obama is a socialist Muslim born in Kenya. Too many legislatures are run by people who want to deny women their basic right to health, well being, and ultimately choice.
It is easy to think the republican party on a national level is a dead duck. However, if left unchecked in state houses across the land it can rebuild, grow, and eventually destroy decades of social and scientific progress.
In the grand scheme of things we aren't that far removed from the dark ages. And unfortunately for us all, it would seem the flea infested rats are once again on the move. Just look to places like Arkansas and North Dakota.
Next up, a good old fashioned witch burning or two.
Mr. Sulu, you have the con, I want a beer.