The Race to the Bottom, Courtesy of the Morality Squad

During my daily internet-based Search for Things to Complain About, I came across an article from the Huffington Post about the State of Arkansas cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and any group with connection to them, courtesy of state representative Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch).

Gary Stubblefield, the author of the latest iteration of moral wisdom.

“Naah,” I thought to myself.  “I already wrote about this a few days ago.”

Oh, wait … no I didn’t.  That was North Dakota.

I’m sure after looking at the way both states are handling the situation, you’ll be able to understand why I made this mistake.  They’re pretty much doing the same thing, except Arkansas is upping the ante:

The bill would also prohibit any organization that contracts with an abortion provider or referrer, including power companies, water companies, health insurers or medical suppliers, from receiving any state money. Supporters of the bill argue that it prevents taxpayer money from indirectly paying for abortion and abortion referrals.

… so does this mean that those same power companies should be prohibited from contracting with churches, synagogues, or mosques in order to prevent taxpayer money from funding religious institutions in violation of the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause?  Hell, I’m no fan of religion but that’s a couple of steps too far, even for me.

It’s also the same as suggesting that taxpayers are funding drug deals and murders, because those who commit the crimes might use either public transportation or publicly-funded roads to get to their destinations.  Technically, it’s true, but that kind of reasoning can be extended to any degree of logical absurdity.  And, as I said in my post about North Dakota, abortion is legal.  That has been confirmed numerous times by precedent.  Additionally, laws passed similar to this in states like Arizona, Indiana, and Tennessee have been overturned based on the fact that state residents have the right to receive services from any “qualified medical provider” – claiming Planned Parenthood as one such entity.

Yeah, strange as it may sound to some folks who have spent their lives convincing themselves and others that they’re nothing more than a morally reprehensible abortion mill, Planned Parenthood is a reliable provider of essential health services for low-income women.

Oh, and speaking of morally reprehensible, Arkansas is pulling the same stunt as North Dakota by ending the STD prevention classes funded by Planned Parenthood.  As with their friends in the North, this isn’t an issue of public health or disease prevention; it’s about Christian morality.  Those who actually teach the curriculum have strong feelings about its termination.

Darrell Seward, the assistant football coach and health education teacher at Little Rock Central High School, said the program is invaluable to his students.

“I would challenge any legislator or politician in the state of Arkansas or higher to set foot in my classroom and listen to the curriculum and walk out and say it’s a bad program,” he told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “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.”

Issues as fundamental as public health and effective, practical methods of preventing teen pregnancy should have no political affiliation.  Funny, too, since those directly involved appear to feel the same way.  We already know what works … it’s just a matter of getting the people whose elections are bought in part by the hardcore Christian Right to admit that medical science is more than just a liberal plot to undo the fabric of society.  Clearly the higher teen pregnancy rate in states with abstinence only “education” isn’t enough, even in their own state.

For the text of the bill, click here.

This entry was posted in Freedom from Religion, Profiles in Fundamentalism, Religion and Public Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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