Arkansas bill OK’d to block Planned Parenthood sex education

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers sent legislation to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday to prevent Planned Parenthood from providing sex education programs in public schools.

The Senate voted 27-5 for the measure prohibiting public schools from entering into any transaction with individuals or entities that perform, induce or provide abortions.

“If the entity does that, I think the state of Arkansas has no business in any form...contracting with them to do anything,” said Republican Sen. Bob Ballinger, a sponsor of the measure.

Hutchinson’s office declined to comment on whether he planned to sign the bill.

The measure, which the House approved earlier this month, is aimed primarily at Planned Parenthood, which hasn’t had an in-person educator in the state since January 2020.

“Our students’ basic education should not be jeopardized because of the Legislature’s misguided political agenda,” Gloria Pedro, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes’ regional manager on public policy and organizing for Arkansas and Oklahoma, said in a statement.

The bill is among several abortion-related measures that have easily advanced in the majority-Republican Legislature this year. They include a near-total ban on abortions Hutchinson signed. Opponents have vowed to challenge the ban in court before it takes effect later this year.