On Tuesday, the Arkansas state Senate passed a bill that would entirely defund Planned Parenthood and all organizations that have a contract with an abortion provider.
This is a state with the third-highest teen birth rate in the nation, and a place where 60 percent of the counties don’t have an OB-GYN.
If passed into law, the measure would also cut high school sex education programs in Arkansas that are currently operated by Planned Parenthood—specifically HIV and STI prevention programs. Jill June, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Christian Post,
It’s disheartening that some extreme lawmakers would rather make a political statement against Planned Parenthood than support these vital prevention programs for our young people.
Arkansas high school students would lose a significant portion of the sex education they currently get in classes, as Little Rock Central High School health education teacher Darrell Seward told Huffington Post:
This program has been one of the most well-received programs that our students have ever been engaged in. I am a Republican, but this is one issue I feel very strongly about, because I see the benefit for our kids.
Arkansas is becoming one of the leading states in a recent “tidal wave” of anti-abortion legislation. Just last month, it passed a law that is one of the country’s strictest in preventing women from having abortions.
Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it moves on to Arkansas’s House of Representatives.
Photo of Planned Parenthood rally courtesy of Flickr user MikeSheridan89 under Creative Commons 2.0