Monday, July 10, 2017

Meanwhile, in Arkansas. Hammering Away At Reproductive Choice.

Meet Kim Hammer, a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives.  Rep. Hammer appears to be a member of the Taliban-like section in the Republican Party.  That means a voting record like this:

He joined the needed two-thirds majority to override the vetoes of Democratic Governor Mike Beebe to enact legislation requiring photo identification for casting a ballot in Arkansas and to ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; he was the co-sponsor of both of these measures. He voted to ban abortion whenever fetal heartbeat is detected, to forbid the inclusion of abortion in state insurance plans, and to make the death of an unborn child a felony in certain cases. He voted for curriculum standards for Bible instruction in public schools. Hammer backed legislation to allow handguns on church properties. He co-sponsored legislation to empower university officials to carry weapons in the name of campus safety.

So Rep. Hammer is very much opposed to abortions but also very keen to have guns on church properties and college campuses.  I have always found that combination of political opinions an interestingly illogical one, though of course it's perfectly logical when viewed from a pure power angle.

There are many Rep. Hammers in this country.  The reason I write about this one has to do with a new abortion provision in Arkansas:

Under current Arkansas law, the physician can dispose of the embryonic or fetal tissue following a surgical abortion or miscarriage through incineration or other means, while women who opt for a medical abortion can dispose of the tissue at home. Under the new provision, physicians will face criminal penalties if they fail to notify the woman's sexual partner about how he wants to dispose of the tissue.
"He was there at conception so he ought to be there through the whole process," Republican Representative Kim Hammer, the bill's primary sponsor, tells Bustle. "I think that all life, from conception through birth and right up through death by natural causes, needs to be treated with dignity, respect, and also a unified approach to deal with the remains."

Emphasis is mine.

Don't you just love Rep. Hammer's reasoning in that second bolded sentence?  The man was there at conception so he ought to be there through the whole process.

Except that he can't be.  He can't get pregnant and he can't experience the abortion (or the miscarriage or the delivery if the pregnancy is carried to term).  And, as the linked article points out, the provision doesn't exempt rape victims from the requirement that the man responsible for the conception be notified.

So what is Rep. Hammer really after here?  That's worth pondering.  I have a hunch that he might be trying to open the doors for more "fatherhood rights," beginning from conception.  But that is exceedingly problematic, given that the pregnancy takes place inside the woman's body, not inside the man's body and it is she who faces the health hazards*, pain and discomfort of it all.

* That link is to data on maternal mortality rates, but those include mortality caused by the pregnancy, even before the giving of birth.  Note that those rates are far higher for women of African ancestry, a truly terrible problem which it is high time the richest country on earth should tackle.  But given that the Republicans are bent on killing most health care subsidies, it's extremely unlikely that antenatal clinics would be created to combat that and other related problems (neonatal death rates), even though it would be money excellently spent.