No, These Bills Aren't April Fools' Jokes

This nutty legislation has been proposed in states across the country.

By + More

The legislation of Dr. Moreau. While overshadowed by the gay marriage debate, another front in the culture wars—abortion—has seen significant recent action. Two of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country were enacted in March. First Arkansas' Republican-controlled legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto to enact a law which would ban abortions at 12 weeks if a heartbeat could be detected. The bill's sponsor, Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert, has compared abortion to the holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. Not to be outdone, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a law a few weeks later which bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detectable at all, which can be as early as six weeks into the pregnancy (Roe v. Wade protects abortions until viability, which is around 24 weeks). Other states—including Ohio and Kansas—are considering similar bills.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Should Abortion Be Illegal?]

But for sheer weirdness, no anti-abortion bill can beat the one proffered by Mississippi state Rep. William "Tracy" Arnold. His bill—which died in committee—not only would have declared fetuses to be people (with the attendant criminalization of abortion) but would also make it a crime to "create or attempt to create a human-animal hybrid." Because that's apparently a problem down in Mississippi.

I'm running out of space and I haven't even gotten to the Montana bill that would let criminals receive corporal punishment rather than jail time; or the Tennessee bill which would give the legislature control of major party Senate nominations; or the Missouri bill which would make it a felony to introduce gun control legislation.

Which of these bills is a joke? They're all real—joke's on the rest of us.

  • Read Mary Kate Cary: It's Time for Marion Barry to Retire
  • Read Ford O'Connell: It Doesn't Take Guts for Democrats to Support Gay Marriage
  • Read Susan Milligan: Rep. Young Shows GOP Still Has a Ways to Go With Latino Voters