Women’s Rights


Makayla Kellem, Editor

Content Warning: This article mentions topics such as sexual assault

On August 31, Texas bill SB 8 was put into effect, banning all abortions that occur six weeks after the last menstrual cycle. Currently Department of Justice judges are working to block this bill, but it is already affecting people in the area. Because Texas has found a legal workaround with SB 8, it’s not unlikely that a similar, or “copycat” law will appear sooner than later in Arkansas. 

According to the CDC, Arkansas has the most teen pregnancies per 1,000 women out of anywhere in the United States, and has the third most rapes. It’s not hard to see that this area is in dire need of reproductive education and resources. With abortion being already increasingly inaccessible here, the need for help increases, along with the list of issues. 

“It’s not a woman’s job to have kids. We just can. Everyone assumes that every girl wants to be a mom and that’s so very false. Her body, her choice,” said sophomore Tayla Peterson. She elaborated and stated, “Nobody should have to be forced to take care of a baby that one, came from incest or sexual assault, because that was traumatic and it’s typically teenagers that don’t have the mental or financial stability to take care of it.”

As previously stated, this bill blocks abortions from happening six weeks after the last period, when most women wouldn’t know they are pregnant. Although the vast majority of pregnancy terminations occur during the first trimester, the length of time given under SB 8 isn’t adequate.

Many have expressed concern by arguing that men shouldn’t have the ability to pass laws regarding women’s bodies. This particular bill was introduced by Texas Senator Bryan Hughes, but similar bills have existed in other states. 

Senior Gavin Niemoth expressed, “Men shouldn’t have rights to women’s bodies. Mainly because the female body needs more attention to detail than a man’s body, and only women really know other women.”

SB 8 is now the strictest legislation that has been passed since Roe v. Wade in 1973, making the bill unconstitutional and unable to be enforced by the state. As far as enforcement goes, they are leaving that job up to private citizens. For example, a person could sue a woman and her healthcare provider for performing an abortion after six weeks. In turn, the woman and healthcare provider would be in trouble, while the individual suing could receive a $10,000 bounty reward.

There has already been controversy regarding said bounty system. Due to loopholes in the bill, it would be possible for a rapist to sue their victim for abortion after six weeks, and receive a cash payout for doing so. As well as loopholes, the bill also promotes disregarding someone’s medical anonymity.

To prevent a shooting, many would say to take the bullets out of a gun. This is a similar situation. Many individuals are calling for a more prominent push in male reproductive healthcare like reversible vasectomies. A vasectomy is an operation that prevents a male counterpart from impregnating a female and is currently over 99% effective. 

As stated by the Mayo Clinic, “Pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversal will range from about 30% to over 90%, depending on the type of procedure. Many factors affect whether a reversal is successful in achieving pregnancy, including time since vasectomy, partner age, surgeon experience and training, and whether you had fertility issues before your vasectomy.”

MHHS 2021 graduate Rayne Tilley voiced, “I believe they should be talked about more and become more of an alternative to birth control. Male vasectomies are (most of the time) successfully reversible, the long term side effects of birth control are not (infertility, hormone disorders, etc)”