In Arkansas, Governor Mike Beebe signed the Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act after it was passed unanimously in the state house and senate. The Act gives legal protection to pregnant women who use force to protect their unborn children. This legislation isn’t directly related to abortion, but it is a pro-life, pro-woman measure. As Americans United for Life explains:
Studies have shown that violence and abuse are often higher during pregnancy than during any other period in a woman’s lifetime. For example, according to the March of Dimes, one in six pregnant women has been abused by a partner, while a 1998 household survey determined that pregnant women are 60 percent more likely to be beaten than women who are not pregnant.
A pregnant woman is also more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause, and homicide and other violent crimes are a leading cause of death for women of reproductive age. Notably, criminal investigations from across the nation demonstrate that husbands or boyfriends are often the perpetrators of pregnancy-associated violence and that this violence is often intended to end or jeopardize the pregnancy.
According to AUL’s legal team, the Arkansas bill is part of a growing legal trend across the country. In the last three years, Oklahoma and Missouri have also enacted AUL’s “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act,” statutorily acknowledging a pregnant woman’s right to use force including deadly force to protect her unborn child.
So kudos to Arkansas for taking a step forward in the fight against domestic violence. Of course, if pro-life people support it and it suggests that preborn children might have value worth protecting, you know that the “feminist” abortion advocacy groups are going to oppose it. Sure enough…
[NARAL president Ilsye Hogue is] bothered by plenty of
initiatives related to women’s health working their way through state
legislatures. Asked for examples, she ticked off a new law in Arkansas
that allows a pregnant woman to respond with deadly force to someone she
believes is threatening her fetus.
Shame on you, Ms. Hogue.
The Arkansas legislature also passed legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks, when research suggests that unborn babies may be able to feel pain. (As AUL points out, abortions after 20 weeks are also considerably more dangerous for the mother.) Gov. Beebe vetoed that bill, but the legislature was able to override the veto and enact the law.