Arkansas Women's Rights

Nearly 4,400 people have RSVP’d for a Women’s March to the Arkansas State Capitol, according to an organizer. The event is scheduled for Saturday morning. It is one of nearly 600 similar demonstrations set to occur across the country, mirroring a Washington, D.C. march to protest of the new presidential administration of Donald J. Trump.

Arkansas state capitol building.
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

An Arkansas legislative committee has voted to outlaw an abortion procedure that opponents call "savage" and "barbaric" while others deem it the safest way to end a pregnancy in the second trimester.

The proposal by a legislator who is president of Arkansas Right to Life would ban dilation and evacuation, also known as a D&E abortion. The measure passed the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on a voice vote Thursday.

Arkansas would be the third state to ban the procedure, after Mississippi and West Virginia. Similar prohibitions are on hold amid court challenges in other states.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling against a Texas abortion law has advocacy organizations in Arkansas evaluating their approach to reproductive rights in the Natural State.

State Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) speaking with Arkansas Department of Higher Education Dr. Brett Powell.
Jacob Kauffman/KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are trying to get a grasp on the incomplete picture of sexual assaults on college campuses. One legislative effort is in an early stage that will stretch until July of next year.

Hailing from the heart of the University of Arkansas system, Fayetteville, Democratic State Representative Greg Leding is leading the effort to analyze how Arkansas colleges deal with issues of sexual assault on campus.

“One of the reasons we launched this study was to drill down and find out what the students are seeing that maybe the rest of us aren’t,” said Leding.

Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center

A report issued last week by human rights advocacy group Oxfam America details how workers in poultry processing plants throughout the United States are often denied bathroom breaks. Some surveyed workers say they’ve resorted to urinating on themselves and wearing diapers. Oxfam partnered with several organizations around the country to compile the report.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland want to amend a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' abortion restrictions, including dropping a challenge to a law requiring abortion pill providers to follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

State Sen. Jason Rapert (file photo).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The governor’s Medicaid expansion plan picked up a last minute potential change intended to block insurance coverage for the Morning After and Plan B pills. State Senator Jason Rapert filed an amendment on Tuesday that requires Governor Asa Hutchinson to ask federal officials for a waiver that would stop Medicaid funds from going to the reproductive health medications.

State Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow).
Arkansas Times

The governor may have found a solution to the Medicaid budget impasse caused by just 10 of the state Senate's 35 members in the form of a creative new use of the line item veto but he hasn't done it yet. Into the void steps some last minute finagling and fine tuning.

Morning After Pill

State Senator Jason Rapert told me Tuesday night and then announced to the public via Twitter that he's going to try and stop insurance plans under Arkansas Works from paying for The Morning After or Plan B pill.

U.S. Supreme Court
Wikipedia

The Supreme Court will not allow North Dakota to enforce a law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The justices on Monday turned away the state's appeal of lower court rulings that struck down the 2013 fetal heartbeat law as unconstitutional. The law never took effect, and abortion rights supporters said it was the strictest anti-abortion measure in the country.

www.are.uscourts.gov

A federal judge has agreed to extend until March her order blocking Arkansas from enforcing new limits on the way the abortion pill is administered.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted the request by the state and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is challenging the new limits. Baker had initially blocked the new law from taking effect until Jan. 14, and both sides had asked her to extend that order until March 14.

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