First, let me introduce myself. I’m Gloria, the Arkansas lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes. I was raised in Jacksonville, AR as the second of three children. I earned my undergraduate degree in social justice and political science at Lyon College and a master’s in social justice and human rights from Prescott College.
I am so excited to be working for an organization I love and using my passion for social justice to advocate on behalf of health care access for the people of Arkansas. I look forward to bringing you this weekly update, an insider’s view of the legislature, how its work will affect Planned Parenthood’s mission, and what you can do about it.
A week ago, the legislature gaveled in for the 2019 regular session. From the get-go, it’s been clear that attacking women’s health is a top priority. The first two bills filed both seek to undermine a woman’s right to choose, and they won’t be the last we see this session.
You can read more about this dangerous legislation below. Today, as we honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, let us remember that it’s our duty to stand up for civil and human rights like he did. It will take all of us raising our voices to protect and expand the rights of Arkansans, but working together, we can make it happen.
Arkansas Manager of Public Policy & Organizing
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes
Two bills we oppose have been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health and could get a hearing as soon as Wednesday. Follow us on Twitter for live updates or stream the meetings as they happen.
SB2 would stand in the way of a woman exercising her right to an abortion in the case of a diagnosis of fetal Down syndrome, while doing nothing to address discrimination against those with disabilities or providing them with access to education, health care, or employment opportunities.
SB3 is another unconstitutional effort by anti-choice politicians to end abortion in Arkansas. This bill attempts to intimidate physicians who provide abortions by demanding extensive, unnecessary reporting at the risk of losing their license to practice.
9th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice
On Saturday, several hundred people gathered at the Arkansas Capitol to listen to speakers in support of Reproductive Justice. Planned Parenthood Great Plains co-sponsored the rally. Staff and volunteers gathered sign-ups and spread the word about the upcoming Lobby Day.
The rally commemorated the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. Speakers also brought attention to a host of Reproductive Justice issues, including the right to parent our children in environments free from police violence, access to quality public education, and health care for trans/non-binary people.
Keynote speaker Pamela Merritt, Co-Director of Reproaction, warned of the many abortion restrictions passed at the state level. She also focused on holding the "Pro-Life" movement accountable, saying, "If you're going to say you're pro-life, there are lives you need to be pro for." Along with the other speakers, she gave a stirring call to action: "When they go low, we organize!"
If you missed the event, you can still view the Facebook livestream and follow #RJR19 on social media.
The Other Abortion Ban, The Washington Post
Dr. Stephanie Ho, Fayetteville physician and Planned Parenthood Great Plains director of primary care, describing the challenges she faced in becoming an abortion provider in Arkansas
“Reproductive rights depend, in part, on the medical community dispelling taboos. Abortion should be a topic of normal conversation, especially among medical professionals. It is, after all, a part of ordinary life — a routine medical procedure.”
Save the date for these upcoming events.
February 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - PPGPV Arkansas Lobby Day at Christ Church and the Capitol
March 14, 6-8 p.m. - The Bash fundraiser for PP Great Plains at Fayetteville Town Center
May 1, 6-8 p.m. - Garden Party fundraiser for PP Great Plains in Little Rock
Will you make a gift to support our work in Arkansas?