A rapist will soon be able to sue his victim if she wants an abortion after a new law was passed in America.
The shocking act could come into effect as early as this spring and will allow members of the rape victim’s own family to stop a termination by suing the abortion provider.
The Arkansas Act 45, which has been passed in the southern US state of the same name, does not include an exception clause for rape by a spouse or incest, meaning the foetus’s father could sue an abortion clinic, even if they have raped the woman.
Pro-choice supporters reacted with shock and disgust to the news.
Karen Musick, co-founder of Arkansas’s Abortion Support Network, told the Daily Beast:
“There is zero part of me that understands why a rapist or someone who got someone 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.”
But Arkansas representative Andy Mayberry, one of these who signed Arkansas Act 45, called one type of abortion, dilation and evacuation, a “gruesome, barbaric procedure” that “no civilized society should embrace”.
Mr Mayberry claimed the father would not be able to claim monetary damages in rape or incest cases, although he could block a termination.
The act has caused further anger as it also bans a common abortion procedure often deemed one of the safest methods of terminating a pregnancy.
The law bans the dilation and evacuation method, the most common abortion procedure during the second trimester of pregnancy, which effectively prevents abortions after 14 weeks by making the safest procedure illegal.
The procedure, which is the method endorsed by the World Health Organisation, involves using surgical instruments to remove material from the womb and is used in 95% of all second trimester abortions.
The procedure could still legally be carried out following a miscarriage.