Good news today on the continuing battle for women’s reproductive rights, hanging on by a bare thread in Southern states such as Arkansas.
A North Carolina judge has struck down a North Carolina law that mandated an ultrasound for pregnant women and required doctors to show women the images and describe them in detail.
Judge Catherine Eagles said the law was “an impermissible attempt to compel these providers to deliver the state’s message in favor of childbirth and against abortion.” It was, among others, a free speech violation to compel speech.
Of course. Arkansas in 2013 passed an overbroad ultrasound anti-abortion law over Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto. It has already been enjoined by a federal court. But the lawmakers who passed this and the unconstitutional 20-week ban have no regrets and plan still more mischief. One of them is a woman, Rep. Ann Clemmer. She is campaigning in the Republican primary for 2nd District Congress by boasting about passing unconstitutional anti-abortion legislation.
I doubt Clemmer will find many voters in today’s 4th Arkansas Reproductive Justice Rally at the state Capitol at 1 p.m. today.
Featured speakers at the rally are Bowen Law School Professor Adjoa Aiyetoro, Arkansas State Representative Fred Love, and ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Arkansas Staff Attorney Holly Dickson. Rabbi Barry Block of Temple B’nai Israel will present the invocation. Rally vice chair and co- president of UCA’s Feminist Union, Greer Williams, will close the program with a spoken word poetry performance.
According to Ali Taylor, rally chair and president of Little Rock NOW (National Organization for Women), ARCJ advocates “the right to have children, the right not to have children, and the right to raise the children we have in safe and healthy environments.” Brittaney Stockton, public relations chair and Planned Parenthood volunteer, adds that “access to all reproductive health services, free of conflict, opposition and shame, is integral to ensuring these rights.”