Arkansas Legislature Advances Bill Barring Planned Parenthood from Participating in Public School Sex Ed Programs

Source: Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for

On Monday, the Arkansas Senate passed a bill that would bar abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, from participating in sex education programs in public schools.

House Bill 1592, dubbed the “Arkansas Student Protection Act,” overwhelmingly passed the state Senate in a vote of 27-5 after passing the House 73-18.

According to the legislation, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mark Lowery, a “public school or open-enrollment public charter school” cannot knowingly “enter into any type of transaction” with individuals or entities that perform, induce or provide abortions.

Schools who violate the measure must “appear before the state board” to determine “why this subchapter and division rules were violated” and “how to prevent the violation of this subchapter and division rules in the future.”

The vote was celebrated by Jerry Cox, the founder and president of Arkansas Family Council, who published a statement calling HB 1592 a “good bill” that “will help make sure Planned Parenthood and other abortionists don’t access Arkansas’ public schools.”

On the other hand, the legislation was opposed by Gloria Pedro of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, the regional Planned Parenthood body which includes Arkansas, The Christian Post reports.

“Our students’ basic education should not be jeopardized because of the Legislature’s misguided political agenda,” Pedro said in a statement.

The bill now goes to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson for signature, but his office refused to say whether he will sign it.

Hutchinson signed a bill last month banning most abortions in the state, except for to save the mother’s life in the event of a medical emergency.

At the time, he told CNN host Dana Bash in an interview explaining that he signed the bill as “a direct challenge to Roe Vs. Wade.”

“I think there’s a very narrow chance that the Supreme Court will accept that case, but we’ll see. … It’s been my historic position that the three exemptions would be rape, incest and the life of the mother,” he contended.