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On May 17, the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and review Mississippi HB 1510, which bans abortion at 15 weeks’ gestation. HB 1510 cites modern medical findings about children in the womb during the first 15 weeks of life, including that infants develop a heartbeat between 5-6 weeks’ gestation and that by 12 weeks they have developed all “relevant aspects” of recognizable human form.Since the bill challenges the precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey that prohibit state restrictions on pre-viability abortion, both sides of the political aisle are holding their breath waiting to see whether the Court will finally reset its contorted history of abortion jurisprudence.There has been a great deal of pro-life legislation that has been passed in the U.S. in recent years. In 2019, seven states (including Mississippi) rolled out laws that banned abortion past six weeks or after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. In 2020, “heartbeat bills” were also passed in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, and Ohio. In 2021 alone, over 500 pro-life bills were introduced in state legislatures, and as a result, Arkansas and Oklahoma joined Alabama on the list of states to pass total abortion bans. Though these laws have been blocked by federal courts, they represent the gold standard of pro-life legislative advocacy, and reenforce the idea that the Supreme Court has no business declaring a supposed right to abortion under the Constitution in the first place.Considering this national trend of legislative action against abortion, the pre-viability restrictions that Mississippi HB 1510 implements are increasingly in touch with the convictions of the nation. Though the bill does not meet the global 75 percent norm of restricting elective abortion to 12 weeks’ gestation, which highlights the disparity between the U.S. and the rest of the world, the bill does restrict abortion for 25 more weeks of pregnancy than the rest of the nation does.Given that 90 percent of abortions occur within the first 12 weeks of gestation, the law addresses only the remaining pregnancies that survive to 15 weeks. This means that the battle to preserve life, even within Mississippi, is far from over. HB 1510 nevertheless demonstrates the earnest attempts of Mississippi legislators to reflect the views of their state, where only 36 percent of citizens believe abortion should be legal in most cases.In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells His disciples the parable of the talents, which focuses on a man who goes on a journey and leaves varying degrees of money with each of his servants. When the master returns, he rewards the servants who earned interest on the talents that they were given; to these, he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”This parable demonstrates that the Lord blesses the intentions and faith of those who seek to serve Him. The servant with two talents made the most of what he was given and pleased his master just as much as the one who doubled five talents.For Christians across the nation evaluating their state’s abortion laws, some may feel that they have been given a harder lot to work with than other states. Not every Christian lives in Arkansas, where in March, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a total abortion ban with an exception only to save the life of the mother. For those living in Alaska, where virtually no barriers to elective abortion exist, it may seem that even a massive victory such as overturning Roe v. Wade provides no real hope for a state hostile to life.According to the words of Christ, however, the Lord reaps even where He has not sown.Christians living in states with radically unrestrictive abortion laws must not give up the fight for the sanctity of life. To these states that have been given less “talents” or opportunities to pass legislation defending life, the Lord will be pleased with attempts to follow His ordinances, even if legislative success is impossible. For the states that are in the position to protect life, the message is clear: utilize the momentum in the Court to take action; invest the talents that have been given to you, and your strivings will lead you into the joy of your Master.As Mississippi fights for a 15-week ban on abortion, the Lord is able to accomplish His will through even minimal acts of progress. Through this bill, the Lord could work to reward the strivings of generations of pro-life advocates to overturn Roe v. Wade. Though the outcome of Dobbs remains to be seen, it is certain that the Lord is moving in the hearts of the nation to convict many about the brutal truths of abortion.Advocates across the country ought to take notice of this progress and be encouraged to do what they can to advance life in their own states, knowing that the Lord will reward their work even in the absence of success.Joy Zavalick is an intern with the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.
Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series about key provisions that states have advanced in 2021.States have been working for years to protect taxpayers from having to subsidize the abortion industry, and the momentum continues this year.As I’ve written elsewhere,Ever since Roe v. Wade, Congress and most states have taken bipartisan efforts to stop taxpayer funds from going to pay for abortions and, later, to flow to the abortion industry. These efforts greatly intensified in 2015 when the release of several undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood officials laughing and joking about the transfer and sale of fetal tissue. These videos shocked the American people and shined a light on an unsavory profit center for the abortion industry, the gruesome harvesting of body parts of the aborted unborn (sometimes even, apparently, before fetal death).Most Americans support defunding Planned Parenthood. An annual Knights of Columbus/Marist poll shows a majority of Americans oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion; in January it found that 60 percent of Americans, including 35 percent of Democrats, oppose public funding of abortions. A 2016 Harvard poll and a 2018 PRRI poll found that over half (58 percent and 51 percent, respectively) of Americans believe that Medicaid should not pay for abortions. Not surprisingly, 33 states have introduced legislation to restrict government funding of the abortion industry in recent years. These bills largely address the three main streams of abortion funding – Medicaid (a joint federal-state health coverage program), Title X (a federal family planning grant program) and state appropriations.Abortion funding restrictions have shifted from merely banning direct funding of abortion procedures to also cutting off abortion businesses. This distinction is important because even if taxpayer funds are not used for performing an abortion, they still support abortion centers by helping them offset their other costs. This frees up their budget to pay for abortions and other abortion-related expenses. After watching the undercover videos, federal and state policymakers realized it is time to defund abortion businesses.Since 2015, states have consistently introduced bills that have attempted to defund both abortions and abortion centers. At least 131 bills have been introduced in 33 states in the past 6 years. Of these, 26 bills sought to defund Planned Parenthood in Medicaid, 43 bills in Title X, and 90 bills in state appropriations (About twelve of these 131 bills were specific in only prohibiting the funding of abortion procedures. Thirteen of these bills sought to simply expand or strengthen existing defund laws. 22 of the 131 bills were temporary budget bills, in which states inserted a ‘rider’ restricting abortion funding into their yearly appropriations bill going into effect for the upcoming fiscal year.) 29 of the total 131 bills have been enacted in 19 different states. In addition to addressing the three streams of funding mentioned above, some states have gotten creative. For example, Iowa’s HF 422 (2015), rather than prohibiting funds from going to entities that supply abortions, sought to prohibit abortions from being done by entities that receive public funds (this bill was not enacted). A few states have sought to limit health insurance coverage of abortions. Kentucky’s HB 484 (2020), for example, prohibited abortions from being covered under state-sponsored health insurance programs (this bill was enacted). In 2017, Wisconsin introduced a bill (SB 154) that would have prohibited publicly-funded universities from utilizing state funds to perform, assist, or train others to perform abortions.Texas currently has the strongest defunding laws in place, as the state successfully defunded abortion businesses in Title X and state appropriations. First, Governor Greg Abbott issued a letter defunding Planned Parenthood from the state Medicaid program in 2015. While this action was enjoined, Texas was subsequently granted a Medicaid waiver allowing the state to redirect federal funds away from abortion businesses. This was the first (and so far, only) waiver of its kind to be granted. Six other states – Arizona, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Indiana – have similarly enacted very strong legislation defunding the abortion industry, as they have attempted to defund abortion businesses in Medicaid and successfully defunded abortion businesses in Title X and state appropriations. However, none received a federal waiver for Medicaid; this is typically a multi-year process, which seems unlikely under the current administration, so pro-life state policymakers should begin thinking now about the waiver requests they’ll want the next time we get a pro-life administration.In a like manner, a plethora of states have attempted to permanently defund abortion businesses in one or two streams of funding. While a state attempting to defund abortion businesses in a particular area doesn’t carry as much weight as a successful defund, it is still notable and shows the public’s support for defunding the abortion industry in that state. The following 15 states fall into this category:Alabama, Utah, South Carolina – Attempted to defund abortion businesses in MedicaidKansas, Tennessee – Attempted to defund abortion businesses in Medicaid; deprioritized abortion businesses in Title X (i.e. when distributing federal grants, the state prefers non-abortion health care providers ahead of any entities that supply abortions)Missouri, Idaho – Attempted to defund abortion businesses in Medicaid; defunded abortion businesses in state appropriationsWisconsin, Kentucky, Ohio – Defunded abortion businesses in state appropriations; defunded or deprioritized abortion businesses in Title XMichigan, Oklahoma – Defunded or deprioritized abortion businesses in Title XNebraska, Iowa, North Carolina – Defunded abortion businesses in state appropriationsThough lacking the strength of abortion industry funding bans, other states have taken action to defund abortion procedures. The 13 states that have done this are:Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota – Defunded procedures in Medicaid and state appropriationsNevada, North Dakota, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island – Defunded procedures in MedicaidPennsylvania – Defunded procedures in Medicaid; attempted to defund procedures in state appropriationsMinnesota – Attempted to defund procedures in Medicaid and state appropriationsMontana – Attempted to defund procedures in MedicaidLastly, several states have been successful in temporarily defunding abortions and/or the abortion industry. These states have passed yearly appropriations bills that include a pro-life ‘rider’ specifying that certain funds shall not be used for abortions and/or abortion businesses for the duration of the upcoming fiscal year. The following six states have done this:Iowa – Temporarily defunded procedures in Medicaid and abortion businesses in state appropriations and Title X (2019-2020); temporarily defunded procedures in Medicaid (2015-2016)Nebraska – Temporarily defunded abortion businesses in Title X (2018-2019)New Hampshire – Temporarily defunds abortion businesses in state appropriations (since at least 2019)Missouri – Temporarily defunds abortion businesses in state appropriations (since at least 2018)Pennsylvania – Temporarily defunded abortion businesses in state appropriations (2018-2019)Michigan – Temporarily defunded abortion businesses in state appropriations (2017-2018)As I wrote,It is clear the majority of states want to prevent taxpayer funds from going to the abortion industry. These efforts have become normative since the release of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos in 2015. This effort has not slowed, with 19 bills being introduced this year in 14 different states; four having been enacted to date.States believe that taxpayers should not fund the abortion industry, and states will continue passing laws that reflect the principle that abortion is not health care. After all, no other type of health care has as its main purpose and goal extinguishing an already-existing human life. As a recent FRC publication proves, abortion is not the type of health care for which health care professionals should advocate. Because of these and other reasons, abortion is far from deserving of taxpayer funds and states are sure to continue passing laws that recognize this fact.
An Arkansas couple just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. When asked what the key to having a long-lasting marriage was, the pair credited forgiveness and their faith in God.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: Unequally Woked: One Teacher’s Stand to Stop the LeftIt took a young, courageous Spanish teacher to stand up and say, “Not in my school district” to open the eyes of Americans all across the country. Now, a month later, his viral video is sparking a nationwide movement to expose the Left’s biggest lie: it’s not happening here. It is, Jonathan Koeppel insists. People just don’t know it.2. Update: The Fighting Irish Fight BackThe White House called it a “scheduling conflict.” But people at Notre Dame knew it was something else: a conflict of values. When Joe Biden didn’t give the keynote address at Sunday’s graduation ceremony, his absence was enough to make headlines. The only truly controversial visit was Barack Obama’s in 2009, but that would be nothing—protestors warned—compared to the backlash over Biden.3. Blog: Why I Don’t Use Preferred PronounsDemi Lovato has “come out” as non-binary. Being non-binary seems to mean that someone does not feel entirely masculine or feminine so they choose to be neither male or female—non-binary. With this label comes preferred pronouns. The thing is, pronouns contain a statement of belief about the nature of reality, so how do we navigate using preferred pronouns that defy reality?4. Blog: Thinking Biblically About JudgingOn this edition of “Worldview Wednesday” we unpack what scripture says about “judging.” Even people who don’t know the Bible have opinions about it. A favorite verse of many who want a get-out-of-jail-free card is Matthew 7:1, which says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But what does this Bible verse, and the rest of Scripture, say about the issue of “judging”?5. Washington Watch: Chip Roy, Rand Paul, Mat Staver, Anthony Wade, Tom Cotton, Jerry BoykinTony was joined by Chip Roy, U.S. Representative for Texas, and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President, who cautioned against the influx of Critical Race Theory in military training. Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky, discussed the small business committee hearing about Planned Parenthood unlawfully obtaining Paycheck Protection Program loans. Anthony Wade, Lead Pastor of Faith Building Church in Lebanon, Ohio, praised his City Council for making Lebanon Ohio’s first sanctuary city for the unborn. And Tom Cotton, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, talked about new intelligence showing that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in November 2019.6. Washington Watch: Mike Johnson, Scott Rasmussen, David Bullard, Jonathan KoeppelTony Perkins was joined by Mike Johnson, U.S. Representative for Louisiana, who discussed the Israeli-Hamas ceasefire agreement and the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the Iran deal. Scott Rasmussen, Pollster and Publisher of ScottRasmussen.com, emphasized the importance of the abortion issue ahead of the midterm elections. David Bullard, Oklahoma State Senator, explained his bill that banned Critical Race Theory from being taught in Oklahoma public school classrooms. And Jonathan Koeppel, a high school Spanish teacher, objected to his school’s radical gender theory curriculum.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: How to Pray for AmericaOn this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony Perkins was joined by Mike Berry, Jay Johnston, and Michele Bachmann to discuss government policies that have created hostility and even opposition towards biblical Christianity and how Christians should respond.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: Funny You Should Mask, Biden SaysPublic Relations 101: When you’re getting hammered by critics, give the media something else to talk about. After the worst week of his presidency so far, Joe Biden resorted to that ploy Thursday with his “Hey, look over here!” decision on public masking. The CDC, who really has no power to impose a mandate to begin with, chose this week to inexplicably lift its guidance for anyone who’s vaccinated.2. Update: Biden Goes off the Deep SpendThe worst campaign ad is a bad economy. And right now, that’s exactly what the Democrats in charge are worried about. While President Biden seems quite content to blow through trillions of dollars on programs Americans don’t need—or want—the party’s leaders are starting to exchange nervous glances about what the economic indicators are saying about the storm ahead.3. Blog: The Prayer That Saved AmericaThe United States was a mere six years old and was on the brink of collapse. Our first form of government, the Articles of Confederation, proved to be an abysmal failure due to a weak central government that failed to keep the young nation united. In May of 1787, the states decided to send delegates to Philadelphia to draft a new governing document—what is today known as the Constitutional Convention. It was at this point that the aged delegate from Pennsylvania offered his sage advice.4. Blog: A Growing Number of States Are Protecting Minors from TransgenderismThe cultural phenomenon of transgenderism is growing at an astonishing rate. In her book, Irreversible Damage, Abigail Shrier reports that most Western countries have seen a 1,000-5,000 percent increase in teenage females seeking treatment from gender clinics and psychologists—many of whom recommend that these girls socially and physically transition through hormones and sometimes surgery.5. Washington Watch: Chris Mitchell, Tom Cotton, Mat Staver, Phil Bryant, Travis WeberTony was joined by Chris Mitchell, Middle East Bureau Chief for CBN News, who shared the latest on the situation in Israel. Tom Cotton, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, blasted the Associated Press for claiming to be unaware they were sharing office space with Hamas militants in Gaza. Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, discussed the first state-wide permanent order in the country against COVID restrictions on churches. Phil Bryant, former Governor of Mississippi, discussed the significance of the Mississippi abortion law on which the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments. And, Travis Weber, FRC’s Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, unpacked the Equality Act and why it cannot be fixed.6. Washington Watch: Ralph Norman, John Joyce, Connor Semelsberger, Jim DeMintJoseph Backholm was joined by Ralph Norman, U.S. Representative for South Carolina, who talked about the gas crisis. John Joyce, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania, recalled a hearing at which HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was asked about partial birth abortion. Connor Semelsberger, FRC’s Director of Federal Affairs for Life and Human Dignity, discussed how the Biden administration is pushing hard on abortion. And, Jim DeMint, former U.S. Senator for South Carolina, shares about his new book, Satan’s Dare.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Praying and Standing With IsraelOn this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony Perkins was joined by Christ Mitchell, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Caroline Glick, and Heather Johnston to pray over and discuss the siege on the Holy Land that has sparked debate around the world and how the fate of this tiny nation and the world’s Christians are inextricably linked.
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