The public comment line is open. I’ll close out above with today’s video news headlines. Also, today, filings in the appeal of the federal court ruling striking down the 12-week abortion ban passed by the Republican majority over Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto:
* BRIEFS FILED: Briefs were filed with the 8th Circuit today. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked that the law be reinstated. The ACLU asked that Judge Susan Webber Wright’s ruling be affirmed. I’d make book on the ACLU’s chances of prevailing. As it said in a release:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas (ACLU of Arkansas) filed a brief today in the United States C0ourt of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that makes clear that the Arkansas ban on abortions starting at 12 weeks is flatly unconstitutional, violating four decades of Supreme Court precedent. Earlier this year, a federal district court struck down this law, which was challenged by the ACLU of Arkansas, the American Civil Liberties Union and the
Center for Reproductive Rights.
“This law is one more example of extremist politicians willing to go to any length to insert themselves into a woman’s personal, private decision-making by ending access to abortion,” said Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “It’s clear that the district court made the right decision in striking down this law.”
If Sen. Jason Rapert, sponsor of the legislation, had been able to deliver on his original intentions, the law would have done more than insert the state into decison-making, It would have inserted mandatory vaginal probes into women seeking abortions to check for fetal heartbeats. As it is, the law calls for an external test for a fetal heartbeat, but this test is unreliable in the very early stages of pregnancy at detecting a heartbeat. That’s when many women seek abortions. You wonder if doctors are going the extra few inches, as Sen. Rapert would prefer.
* SCHOOL TRANSFERS: The Walton-paid lobbyist Gary Newton, who’s working to break up the Little Rock School District in favor of have- and have-not charter schools, is positively ecstatic about the state Board of Education’s designation of schools in academic distress and the ability of children to leave those schools with $400 travel money for other schools. I repeat the offer the Waltonites never will accept: Take over one of those “failing” schools with precisely the students assigned and prove your charters have a better model for dealing with poor students from broken families who started their school years behind those more fortunately situated. No outcounseling. No refusal to serve parents that won’t follow the rules. Teach them as you get them, whether they want to be there or not. In Little Rock, transfers will be possible from Baseline, Cloverdale, Hall, Henderson, Fair, Hall and McClellan. Here’s an idea: How about some of the well-off families in that new Quest charter school step aside and randomly pick 100 kids from Henderson to make up half the student body instead? It’s about ALL kids, right?