It's going to be an interesting week in the Arkansas General Assembly.
Today, the Senate is likely to consider a bill to ban abortions after 18 weeks. On Thursday, the House Public Health Committee will consider the medication abortion "reversal" misinformation bill. This is dangerous legislation that would force physicians to tell patients to "search...on the internet" a procedure that leading medical organizations reject.
In more positive news, several bills we support are getting traction. From more comprehensive sex education to an end to the shameful practice of shackling pregnant inmates, read about some of the legislation likely to have a positive impact below.
Lastly, the session now has an end date — April 12. We only have five weeks left, which means bills will start running faster and faster. With so many of our bills still at the committee stage, I need you to stay vigilant. We can't be sure, but odds are that at least one more piece of anti-choice legislation will move this week.
Arkansas Manager of Public Policy & Organizing
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes
Awaiting Senate floor vote: (Monday-Thursday at 1:00 p.m.)
HB 1439 (Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale), an unconstitutional bill to ban abortion after 18 weeks, has passed the House.
Awaiting House floor vote (Monday-Thursday at 1:30 p.m.)
HB 1523 (Rep. Rebecca Petty, R-Rogers) ends the practice of shackling incarcerated women who are pregnant.
Awaiting Senate committee hearing: (Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m.)
SB 2 (Sen. Trent Garner, R-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 278 (Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch) is a TRAP law that would extend the abortion waiting period to 72 hours and increase Arkansas' "informed consent" requirements.
SB 448 (Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch) would require abortion providers to be OB/GYNs, creating a barrier to care in Arkansas.
HB 1453 (Rep. Clint Penzo, R-Springdale) would make it state policy to encourage women to carry fetuses with a fatal diagnosis to full term. It has passed the House.
HB 1440 and HB 1441 (Reps. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, and Mary Bentley, R-Perryville) are part of an effort to reduce Arkansas' maternal mortality rate by establishing oversight. They have passed the House.
HB 1290 (Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-Clarksville) authorizes pharmacists to provide access to and administration of oral contraceptives. It has passed the House.
Awaiting House committee hearing: (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.)
HB 1164 (Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-Clarksville) authorizes pharmacists to dispense oral contraceptives without a prescription.
HB 1289 (Rep. Brandt Smith, R-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.
SB 341 (Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View) would force physicians to give medically inaccurate and potentially dangerous information about abortion pill "reversal" to patients. It has passed the Senate.
SB 3 (Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado) is a TRAP law that imposes medically unnecessary reporting requirements on abortion providers in an effort to intimidate and ultimately discredit them. It has passed the Senate.
SB 304 (Sen. Will Bond, D-Little Rock) would, among other things, require more comprehensive sex education. It has passed the Senate.
Signed into law:
Act 180 (SB 149, Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway) triggers a total abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned with no exception for rape or incest. Abortion providers would face up to 10 years in prison.
We're also watching:
HB 1664 (Rep. Cindy Crawford, R-Fort Smith) is the Life Choices Lifeline Program (House Children & Youth).
"Arkansas will bear any legal cost and impose any burden on women to prevent abortion. That's just how it is."
"The suit envisions a worst-case scenario, touching off 'a national public health crisis… pregnancies that are unintended, and thus riskier, will increase. The number of abortions will also increase. And there will be fewer tests for sexually transmitted infections and cancer screens — putting patients and their partners at great health risk.'"
The BASH! — Fayetteville
A benefit for Planned Parenthood Great Plains
March 14, 6:00 p.m.
32nd Annual Garden Party — Little Rock
A benefit for Planned Parenthood Great Plains
May 1, 6:00 p.m.
Will you make a gift to support our work in Arkansas?