The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported today a decision that was a foregone conclusion:
Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford will bow to anti-abortion legislators and not give a contract to Planned Parenthood to help publicize the state’s new subsidized health coverage. Planned Parenthood is particularly well-suited through its broad-based health offerings to reach people, particularly lower-income people, who might benefit from coverage. The work had nothing to do with abortion. Abortion wouldn’t have been mentioned.
But anti-aboriton legislators are on a crusade to put Planned Parenthood out of business because it has clinics that provide abortion (in Arkansas, only through pharmaceutical means).
This is yet another legislative veto of an executive agency decision and there will be more. A lawyer for Planned Parenthood noted that court precedent makes clear that a government can’t punish a private agency by withholding business on account of its unpopular beliefs. But the amount at issue here is too small to make a federal case over, though Planned Parenthood would win.
I knew it was going to happen. I’m sorry it happened.
Clip and save that paragraph. They will be useful again when the right-wing Arkansas legislature — beloved of the 2nd Amendment though they are — tramples on the 1st Amendment again. It might be denying an advertising contract to a news outlet it doesn’t like. It won’t be denying a grant to a school district that discriminates against a public speaker on account of his Muslim religion, I’ll bet.
The bullies are in charge. Bullies will be bullies until a greater force challenges them.