Under a bill signed by the governor of Arkansas, Planned Parenthood and other abortion-related businesses and organizations will no longer be able to provide resources to the state's public schools.
The Arkansas Student Protection Act (HB 1592) [now known as "Act 820"] states the following:
"A public school or open-enrollment public charter school shall not knowingly enter into any type of transaction with an individual or entity that: (1) performs abortions; (2) induces abortions; or (3) provides abortions."
Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the measure into law last week, officially booting organizations like Planned Parenthood from having any say in how sex education will be taught in Arkansas public schools. KARK.com quotes a Planned Parenthood Great Plains spokeswoman who accuses the governor and legislature of putting their political agenda above students' access to "comprehensive sex ed" – most of which, PP contends, is based on abstinence.
One News Now spoke with Jerry Cox of the Arkansas Family Council. Prior to the legislation, he says, his organization wasn't sure if public schools were conducting any kind of transactions with abortion providers. So the Council requested a Freedom of Information Act.
"[Through that] we found out that indeed … right here in the Little Rock area there were about half a dozen schools that were doing business, so to speak, [involved in] transactions with Planned Parenthood," he reports.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains has already condemned the new law, but Cox doesn't expect the Arkansas Student Protection Act will be challenged in court.
"I think it's well written; I think it'll withstand court challenge," he responds. "The attorney general's office reviews all the bills like this that are filed [and] they expressed no concerns about it. So, I think it's a good law, and I think it's very solid."
The bill drew wide bipartisan support, passing in the State Senate 27-5 and in the House 73-18. The Family Council maintains that wide base of support will encourage schools to seek out better sex-ed curricula than what Planned Parenthood has to offer.