Panic in the House 

As at every legislative session these days, skittish male lawmakers have worked themselves into a state, professing to see bands of ruffians forcing abortions on helpless women. Even assurances from their female colleagues that there are no such gangs, that no serial abortionist is on the loose, that women are not weak and/or stupid, cannot calm the boys once the fever strikes. Only another shot of legislation will do the trick.

Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, R-Little Rock, is the leading hysteric of the moment. Rosenbaum is the sponsor of HB 2768, which would supplement the fruits of previous legislative panics. Arkansas law already imposes unnecessary and punitive “informed consent” procedures on women and their physicians, thus making the abortion question even more difficult than it would be anyway. Rosenbaum’s bill, approved by the House Friday, would add still another prohibition, this one against any woman having an abortion unless she’s been advised by a physician that “a spouse, boyfriend, parent, friend or other person can not force her to have an abortion.” A colleague asked if it mightn’t be desirable to enact a law prohibiting anyone from forcing a woman not to have an abortion. Rosenbaum replied by presenting his bill as an equal-rights measure:

“Nobody can force me to go have an operation … [This] simply states that no one can force a woman to have a medical procedure.”

His questioner was right, of course, though her question went unanswered. If a bill is needed to protect anyone from being forced to have a medical procedure, it should apply to everyone. Why not a law that no man can have prostate surgery until he’s been advised that no one can force him to have it, no wife, girlfriend, parent, friend, etc.? The real answer is that supporters of bills like HB 2768 believe that men are smart enough and strong enough to make decisions about their own bodies. And about women’s, too.

Closing meanness

A legislative session that once seemed about as under control as these things get is stumbling toward the end. While being crueler to women, legislators are maintaining their familiar cruelty to animals. An animal-cruelty bill (SB 777) that was approved by the Senate is caught in a House committee controlled by the Farm Bureau, and seems unlikely to escape, just like small animals caught by those who enjoy setting them afire or subjecting them to other forms of torture. It’s not just mean to let such people go unpunished, it’s foolish. Those who start by cutting up animals are likely to end by cutting up people.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Tech settles dispute with lawmakers riled by 'Sex on the Lawn'

    Legislators have dropped an effort to kill the Department of Diversity and Inclusion at Arkansas Tech in a dispute that arose over a student sex education program.
    • Mar 22, 2017
  • Another bill to stock the prisons

    The Senate today voted 20-9 to pass Sen. Bryan King's bill that says a fourth commitment to the Arkansas Department of Correction means the person sentenced must serve at least 80 percent of the sentence before parole eligibility.
    • Mar 22, 2017
  • Midweek open line

    The open line and news roundup.
    • Mar 22, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Attack the poor

    If there is a unifying motif to the labors of Congress and the Arkansas legislature this spring it is to make life harder and existence more intolerable for the poor.
  • Don't cry for Robert E. Lee

    Congratulations are in order for Governor Hutchinson. He decided this year to devote the weight of his office to end the state's embarrassing dual holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee and civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Worse than N.C.'s bathroom bill

    SB 774 extends birth certificate requirement to bathrooms in all public facilities, and that's an original birth certificate, too.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: City Board discovers LRSD

    • You reap what you sow, the seeds were planted when the Max Brantley's of LR,…

    • on March 20, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Diane, as noted above, this is a *column* not a news piece. So yes, it's…

    • on March 20, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • It's just amazing being told by a college professor that an editorial column is, um,…

    • on March 20, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation