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Arkansas GOP targets Sharia law after passing bill to allow rapists to sue their victims for abortion

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Republican lawmakers in Arkansas have granted preliminary approval to a bill apparently aimed at Sharia, or Islamic law, after passing a law that would allow fathers and parents to block a woman from having an abortion.

State Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) introduced HB 1041, which won approval Thursday from a House judiciary committee, to “American laws for American courts,” reported the Arkansas Times.

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He claims the measure was not specifically aimed at Sharia law, although it’s similar to legislation introduced in other states based on the conspiracy theory that Islamic law is creeping into the American legal system.

Smith also justified his bill to reporters by citing a custody case involving a man from the Middle East who based his claims on Sharia law and then fled the country, and the lawmaker shared the same story when presenting his legislation on the statehouse floor.

HB 1041 voids court rulings based on foreign laws that do not grant “fundamental rights, liberties, and privileges granted under the Arkansas Constitution or the United States Constitution” — such as due process, equal protection, freedom of religion and speech and press, the right to privacy, the right to bear arms and the right to marry.

Smith’s bill narrowly defines marriage under the Arkansas constitution, which specifically bans same-sex unions but was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.

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After moving out of committee, Smith’s measure will go up for a vote before the full House, which recently passed anti-abortion legislation that’s stricter than laws in some Muslim nations.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Arkansas Act 45 into law last week banning one of the safest and most common abortion procedures in the second and third trimesters and allowing family members to block abortions by suing health care providers.

The measure, which was signed into law less than two months after its introduction, is nearly identical to laws passed in Mississippi and Louisiana, and similar bans in Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama have not yet been implemented until legal challenges have been resolved.

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The Arkansas law makes no exception for rape or incest, and it allows a woman’s spouse or parent to sue abortion providers to stop pregnancies from being terminated.

The Daily Beast reported the law could potentially allow a fetus’s father to block an abortion through lawsuit — even in cases of spousal rape or incest, according to abortion rights activists.

Islamic law generally forbids abortion, although some Muslim legal scholars and religious leaders make exceptions for rape and incest in the first 120 days of pregnancy.

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Some Muslim religious leaders granted exceptions to Algerian and Bosnian women raped during times of war, and an Egyptian sheikh approved a draft law permitting women to abort pregnancies that were the result of rape.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

The Epoch Times had tried to skirt rules by running ads under puppet names like "Honest Paper" and "Pure American Journalism," confusing users about who was really behind the ads.

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GOP leaders are pressuring Kansas Republican to resign from Congress immediately: report

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On Thursday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Republicans in Kansas and Washington are pressuring Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) to step down after just eight months in office.

It is currently unclear why they are calling for his resignation.

Watkins has thus far given no indications he will leave office. His spokesman Jim Joice stated that he has no plans to resign, and disputed the idea that Republican officials are pressuring him to do so, but acknowledged there have been conversations around the topic.

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