This morning in the House Public Health Committee, Rep. Andrea Lea (R-Russellville) presented SB113 by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R-Rogers). SB113 was good legislation aimed at preventing taxpayer-funded abortions under the new federal healthcare law; it included an exception for the mother’s life. Eleven committee members, led by Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (D-Warren), decided to confuse the process and vote to adopt a hostile amendment—a “poison pill” intended to kill this pro-life bill.

Here’s how: Amendment 68 to the Arkansas Constitution clearly states that no taxpayer dollars will be spent on abortions except to save the life of the mother. Rep. Wardlaw’s hostile amendment to SB113 added exceptions for rape, incest and severe health conditions. In light of Amendment 68 that only allows public funding for abortions to save the mother’s life, Rep. Wardlaw’s amendment to SB113 was unconstitutional.

Even so, 11 representatives voted to adopt Rep. Wardlaw’s unconstitutional amendment to kill the bill to prevent taxpayer-funded abortions under the new federal healthcare law; the amendment passed. If your representative voted YES on this amendment, he or she needs to know how strongly you disapprove of allowing politics to get in the way of a good bill protecting taxpayers from funding abortions in Arkansas. Ask your representative to support removing Rep. Wardlaw’s unconstitutional amendment from SB113 and vote for the bill in its original form. Even if these representatives aren’t from your district, I encourage you to contact them.

Below is the official vote:

Voted FOR the Unconstitutional Amendment
Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (D-Warren)
Rep. Sheilla E. Lampkin (D-Monticello)
Rep. Fred Allen (D-Little Rock)
Rep. Buddy Lovell (D-Marked Tree)
Rep. Clark Hall (D-Marvell)
Rep. Tracy Pennartz (D-Fort Smith)
Rep. Charolette Wagner (D-Manila)
Rep. James L. Word (D-Pine Bluff)
Rep. Garry L. Smith (D-Camden)
Rep. Mark Perry (D-Jacksonville)
Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville)

Voted AGAINST the Unconstitutional Amendment
Rep. Billy Gaskill (D-Paragould)
Rep. Barry Hyde (D-North Little Rock)
Rep. Butch Wilkins (D-Bono)
Rep. Bryan King (R-Green Forrest)
Rep. Andrea Lea (R-Russellville)
Rep. Stephanie Malone (R-Fort Smith)
Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-East End)
Rep. Jon Woods-Vice Chair (R-Springdale)

Did Not Vote
Rep. Linda Tyler-Chair (D-Conway)