Weather Delays Arkansas' Stormy Showdown on Women's Health
Thursday, February 21, 2013
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Arkansas House of Representatives could vote today on a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, Senate action on the latest version of a 12-week abortion ban will be delayed until next week since senators recessed because of the ice-storm warning.
One or both bills - House Bill 1037 and Senate Bill 134 - could be on Gov. Mike Beebe's desk by the end of the month.
Murry Newbern, public policy analyst for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said there's concern that passing these types of laws will cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend them in court, in addition to the controversy over restricting women's rights to make their own medical decisions.
"The legislators are taking personal, private decisions away from women - literally," she said. "In essence, they're making medical decisions for women - and that's not the place for legislators to be."
Gov. Beebe has indicated a belief that either bill would be ruled unconstitutional, and he's concerned about the cost of court challenges. But even if he vetoes one or both of the bills, state lawmakers could overturn his veto with a simple majority vote.
So far this year, Newbern said, Arkansas lawmakers have spent much of their time on what she calls "extreme social issues," while other issues - from jobs and economic development to Medicaid expansion - have taken a back seat.
"They are absolutely preoccupied for the first six weeks of session," she said. "It has been dominated by abortion restrictions and gun laws. So much that needs to be done has not been addressed at all, and I think everyone's frustrated."
Both abortion-ban bills have been revised in recent days to add some limited exceptions. In her conversations with lawmakers pushing these bills, Newbern said, they've told her they're responding to constituents' wishes to restrict abortion access.
get more stories like this via email
RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than $1 million in COVID-19 relief grants are helping rural organizations increase their focus on locally sourced food relief…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- This fall, the Iowa Utilities Board is hosting meetings to inform the public about a proposed underground pipeline, which would …
MANDAN, N.D. -- North Dakota has had nearly 18,000 job openings in recent months, with roughly 1,000 in construction. A labor leader in the trades …
Health and Wellness
DAYTON, Ohio -- An Ohio county is taking a trauma-informed approach to its work on preventing marijuana use in teens. As marijuana policy changes …
DENVER -- As Congress considers making significant investments in the nation's child-care system, children's advocates say now is the time to make …
MONTEREY BAY, Calif. - This week, conservation groups are celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week with online and in-person events across the state…
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Admission to any state park in Nevada is free this coming Saturday, as part of the first Nevada Public Lands Week - with a series …
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new Redistricting Advisory Council announced last week by Gov. Tom Wolf's office will focus on reducing gerrymandering as new …