Arkansas Monitor - Feb. 18

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Dear supporter,

On Thursday, the Arkansas legislature voted to ban virtually all abortions if Roe is overturned — with no exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly. 

In addition to this attack on abortion rights, three new bills were filed to restrict women's access to abortion. We're losing under the dome, and things aren't going to get better any time soon without the voices of supporters like you. Our team is working hard on pushing back against more than half a dozen anti-choice bills, but we need your help if we're going to make a serious impact.

That's why I'm asking you to commit right now: Will you join us this week at our annual Lobby Day?

I know it's last minute. I know it's on a weekday. But if you can make it to take action with us in the Capitol on Wednesday, we could have a serious impact on defeating the worst of the worst anti-woman bills under consideration this session. If you've ever wanted the opportunity to tell your legislators exactly how you feel about their record on reproductive justice, this is your chance to make your voice heard.

After passing through the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday, SB 149 was considered by the full House on Thursday. We heard plenty of the usual dangerous rhetoric from opponents of reproductive justice, but heroes like Rep. Megan Godfrey (D-Springdale) shared powerful, personal stories about how this legislation will affect their lives and those of their constituents.

In a surprising turn of events, Rep. Dan Douglas (R-Bentonville) spoke and voted against Jason Rapert's "trigger ban." His passionate defense of a woman's right to choose was punctuated by this inspiring testimony: "Who are we to sit in judgement of these women making a decision between them and their physician and their God above? It is their right to do that, and not ours."

>> Watch Rep. Douglas' speech to the House of Representatives

In the end, the House passed SB149 by a vote of 72-20. However, let Rep. Douglas' intensely personal story shine as an example of how we can flip the script and win these fights. That's why it's so important for you to join us this Wednesday — the more stories we can tell, the more personal we can make this issue, the better chance we have of winning.

I hope I'll see you at Lobby Day. Register now.

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In solidarity,

Gloria Pedro
Arkansas Manager of Public Policy & Organizing
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes


Legislative Updates

With SB 149 on its way to Governor Hutchison's desk, we can expect at least one of the seven other pieces of legislation we're watching closely to get action in the public health committees this week. For up-to-the-minute updates on the  legislature, follow us on Twitter and stream the meetings live.

Awaiting Senate committee hearing: (Wednesdays at 10 a.m.)

  • SB 2 (Sen. Trent Garner, El Dorado) stands 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 or ensure that people living with disabilities have access to health care and other services they need.

  • SB 3 (Sen. Trent Garner, El Dorado) is a TRAP law that imposes medically unnecessary reporting requirements on abortion providers in an effort to intimidate and ultimately discredit them.

  • SB 278 (Sen. Gary Stubblefield, Branch) is a TRAP law that would extend the abortion waiting period to 72 hours and increase Arkansas' "informed consent" requirements.

  • SB 341 (Sen. Missy Irvin, Mountain View) would force physicians to give medically inaccurate and potentially dangerous information about "abortion pill reversal" to patients.

Awaiting House committee hearing: (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.)

  • HB 1289 (Rep. Brandt Smith, Jonesboro) is similar to the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act — it would expand the right of doctors not to participate in services that violate their conscience.

  • HB 1439 (Rep. Robin Lundstrum, Springdale) is an unconstitutional bill to ban abortion after 18 weeks without exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly.

  • HB 1453 (Rep. Clint Penzo, Springdale) would make it state policy to encourage women to carry fetuses with a fatal diagnosis to term

Awaiting Governor's signature:

  • SB 149 (Sen. Jason Rapert) triggers a total abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned with no exception for rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions would face up to ten years in prison.


News

Arkansas legislature passes ‘trigger law’ bill to ban abortion, ThinkProgress

“It’s also already very difficult to access abortion care in Arkansas. Public insurance doesn’t cover abortions, except in cases of rape/incest or life endangerment. There are also only three abortion clinics in the state, and Arkansas bans telemedicine for medication abortion.”

Arkansas lawmaker’s plan tightens abortion ban to 18 weeks, Associated Press

“'This extreme and dangerous political ideology continues to attack women’s health and chip away at Arkansans’ basic right to control our own bodies,' Gloria Pedro, the Arkansas lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes said in a statement.”


Upcoming Events

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 Planned Parenthood Great Plains at Fayetteville Town Center

  • May 1, 6-8 p.m. — Garden Party fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Little Rock

Will you make a gift to support our work in Arkansas?