The misogynists at the state Capitol are already busy introducing anti-abortion bills and the members of the Arkansas Medical Board are punishing abortion clinics with a law meant to undermine their revenues. But women are busy, too: the annual Rally for Reproductive Justice will be held on the Capitol steps at 1 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 19. Keynote speaker will be Pamela Merritt, the co-founder of Reproaction, and others on why these bills are hurting, not helping, women and their families.

The event, sponsored by the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, works for “the right to HAVE children, the right to NOT HAVE children and the right to PARENT the children we have in SAFE and HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS,” it explains on the Facebook page announcing the rally.


Sen. Trent Garner — whose other important proposed legislation includes making the shotgun the state gun and who wants to see people carrying their guns openly and everywhere — has sponsored two abortion bills: SB2, which would make it illegal for a woman to choose abortion if her fetus tests positive for Down Syndrome; and SB3, to require physicians to make extensive reports on “abortion complications” to the state Department of Health.

Meanwhile, over at the state Medical Board, three clinics that provide abortion were cited for billing patients who come seeking an abortion. A 2017 law prohibited clinics from collecting payment from during the 48-hour “reflection period” after a patient’s first visit. Board member Robbie Thomas-Knight quit the board after its vote saying the clinics broke the law, saying the decision was made without a hearing and was motivated by abortion animus. Bettina Brownstein, lawyer for the clinics, said the state law was in violation of both state and federal constitutions and would cost clinics thousands of dollars. (Which was the point of the law, of course.)


UPDATE: I asked Meg Mirivel, the spokeswoman for the Department of Health, what complications from medical procedures were required to be reported to the agency. The answer: None. Here’s what she wrote:

Outbreaks of illness that are healthcare-acquired are reportable. ADH Healthcare Facility Services requires facilities to report any incident of a death while a person is in restraints. Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers are required to keep records of complications, but they are not required to report them. During inspections, these logs are reviewed and analyzed for any trends which would trigger a more extensive investigation as well as evaluating whether the facility is including anything they have identified in their quality assurance program.

Garner’s bill requires physicians who’ve performed an abortion to submit a report to the Department of Health, within three days.