January 26, 2016 — About 200 individuals rallied at the Arkansas Capitol on Saturday to support abortion rights and reproductive health in the sixth annual Arkansas Rally for Reproductive Justice, Arkansas Democrat-Gazettereports.
According to the Democrat-Gazette, the state Legislature has passed several abortion-rights restrictions over the last two regular sessions. Lawmakers and lobbyists say they plan to advocate for additional restrictions next year.
During the rally, several reproductive-health advocates spoke about improving abortion access, reproductive health care for transgender individuals and sexuality education.
Speakers also criticized recent antiabortion-rights legislation in the state. They said the measures harm women by hindering timely access to abortion care, raising the cost of care and spreading medically incorrect information.
Stephanie Ho, a doctor, said a state law (Act 577) that requires physicians to give patients scientifically unproven information about medication abortion has "required [her] to lie to [her] patients." In addition, Ho criticized measures that require women to receive more consultations with doctors prior to receiving abortion care, saying such rules delay the procedure for women who already have decided abortion care is appropriate for them.
State Sen. Joyce Elliot (D) also spoke during the rally. "It grieves me, young people, that we are still talking today about ... what a woman can and cannot do with her body," she said (Walkenhorst, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/24).