Loophole Allows Rapists To Sue For Custody Of Child If Mother Chooses Abortion

A new law that is expected to go into effect this spring includes a loophole that would allow a rapist to legally sue his victim if the mother chooses to have an abortion. Arkansas Act 45 includes the ability of family members to block a termination of pregnancy by suing the abortion provider, thus halting the process and tying it up in court. However, there is no verbiage preventing the rapist, or family members of the rapist, from halting the pregnancy by suing the abortion provider.

Andy Mayberry, an Arkansas representative that co-signed Arkansas Act 45, claims that the fetus’s father can block the abortion from occurring, but cannot sue for monetary damages, according to Metro.

There is no clear definition of how Arkansas Act 45 would impact a man that is raped by a woman. However, it is loosely assumed that he would also be able to halt an abortion for the same reasons. Also, it appears as though the woman rapist would not be able to sue the man for monetary support of the child.

Despite the spring expectation for Arkansas Act 45 to go into effect, there are those that are flabbergasted by its implementation.

Karen Musick, the co-founder of Arkansas’s Abortion Support Network cannot comprehend how anyone that initiates rape of any kind would have rights to the fetus’s future.

“There is zero part of me that understands why a rapist or someone who got pregnant against their will, maybe incest, would have any right in that decision. I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that there would be anyone who thinks otherwise.”

The actual process of abortion that is mentioned by Arkansas Act 45 is called dilation and evacuation, according to New York Magazine. This process is commonly used during the second trimester and includes the process of removing fetal materials through the womb with surgical instruments. This procedure will be illegal in cases of abortion, but may still be used when a miscarriage occurs. This means that after the 14-week mark, abortions in Arkansas would essentially become illegal.

Any doctor that would use the dilation and evacuation method would be subjected to a $10,000 fine and the possibility of six years in prison.

According to Reuters, laws almost identical to Arkansas Act 45 have been implemented in Mississippi and Louisiana. Other similar acts attempted in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Kansas, have faced legal challenges that have stalled their implementation.

Rita Sklar, an attorney for the Arkansas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, claims that laws such as Arkansas Act 45 forfeit constitutional rights from women.

“The law puts an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to obtain a second-trimester abortion, and I think the legislature knows it and doesn’t care.”

Although Arkansas Act 45 is expected to be implemented this spring, it is doubtful that there will not be challenges along the way, potentially stalling the implementation until further clarification is added to the proposed law. The loophole that would allow rapists to stall an abortion and sue for rights of the child is at the top of the list.

What are your thoughts about Arkansas Act 45 and other laws like it? Is it time to move on from Roe v. Wade and allow women to take control of their own bodies, or do fathers of the children they created have the right to step in and choose whether the child lives a full life or ends in an abortion before it is given a chance?

[Featured Image by Saulich Elena/Shutterstock]