Arkansas’ Witch Hunt on Women’s Rights

Now I know that I’m technically a “Texas” Leftist… as defined by the name… but some things are just so offensive that they have to be called out regardless of political division. And in full disclosure, I am a native Arkansan, so things that happen in my former home state tend to cut me to the core.

Arkansas’ Republican-controlled state legislature is in full assault of the rights and liberties of American women. As if jaw-dropping legislation last week to ban abortion (in DIRECT violation of Roe V. Wade) wasn’t enough, they went on to override Governor Mike Beebe’s veto of the bill so that it would become law anyway.

But today’s reporting from Leslie Newell Peacock of the Arkansas Times literally takes the cake. Now state lawmakers, led by State Representative David Meeks, are seeking to restrict both Contraception and in-vitro fertilization. HB1898 is entitled the “Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act”, but clearly it is anything but free.

As someone who was born and raised in the state of Arkansas, I can tell you why Representative Meeks chose to emphasize religious affiliation. The two largest hospital conglomerates in the state of Arkansas are religiously affiliated… Baptist Health and St. Vincent Infirmary. Both are based in Little Rock, but they also operate many of the state’s smaller (but critical) rural hospitals. These institutions are vital members of the health community, and if one or both were to change their women’s health procedures regarding contraception, it would be a tragedy for Arkansas families. That’s what Meeks wants… if they take a grand stand and cease services, it will put pressure on the smaller hospitals to follow suit. There is hope that these hospital professionals wouldn’t ever elect to prevent women from receiving these health services, but in the “fact-free” climate of today’s Republican politics, one can never be so sure of what’s going to happen.

The challenges for the Natural State continue to mount, but thankfully, another election is fast approaching in 2014. The GOP is proving that they are not good for Arkansas.

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