by Max Brantley
Happened again yesterday. Rapert opposes abortion. He incorrectly labels it "murder" even in the seconds after conception event via pill. It's a legal medical option in the U.S., by Supreme Court decree and statute. But, OK, he opposes it. He'll do anything to stop it, including punish agencies that supply it, even if the punishment is unrelated to abortion services.
Case in point was yesterday: He tried to hold up some grants for Planned Parenthood — federal money that works to fight sexually transmitted disease and the scourge of HIV. His justification: Ideologically (and as yet unproven) motivated actions in Iowa and Oklahoma allege improper conduct of business in those states. Until Planned Parenthood is proven innocent of unrelated activities in different states, Rapert says, it should be cut off from business in Arkansas.
Guilt by association.
Guilty until proven innocent.
Is he a great American, or what?
He'd be at least honest if he'd simply say he wants to cut off Planned Parenthood from money to provide vital health services because a tiny portion of its Arkansas spending (not in government money) goes to provide pharmaceutical abortion in the very early stages of pregnancy to women who've made the legal choice not to continue a pregnancy. For reasons that should be left to them, not Jason Rapert.
If facts matter:
* Here are some facts about Oklahoma. No evidence of much there except that Oklahoma is even farther right on the spectrum than Arkansas and is enforcing the Republican anti-choice agenda against Planned Parenthood.
* Here are inconvenient facts for Rapert about Iowa including the fact that state and federal officials declined to pursue allegations brought by the anti-abortion group behind the information that Rapert wants to use to smear unrelated activities in Arkansas.
It is not just abortion in Rapert's sights, of course. Contraception (birth control pills) are also at risk to the extent Rapert and his ilk can limit access.
Barefoot and pregnant and subservient is how Rapert likes his women. Happily, Sen. Joyce Elliott was on hand yesterday to explain how Rapert had double-dealt with her on yesterday's meeting. It wasn't the first time nor will it be the last.
After the meeting, Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, said she was surprised and disappointed by Rapert’s comments, noting that lawmakers agreed to hold Friday’s hearing in the first place to learn more about the legal matters Rapert raised before making any decisions about the contracts. She said he owes the committee an apology.
“The reason we are having this hearing is, when Sen. Rapert and I talked about how we could come to a compromise, the thing that I suggested was that we have this hearing today so that he could get his questions answered,” Elliott said. “It’s like a lot of the other things out there, they are allegations that are unfounded. It is just parallel with these allegations against Planned Parenthood that are not backed up by anything except somebody has filed a lawsuit.”
Oh. Rapert billowed a bunch of smoke because original Arkansas grant applications from many years ago couldn't be found on this sexual disease application. They were boilerplate documents. More innuendo from Elmer Gantry Rapert. And the applications have now been found. Rapert wants this group audited anyway. We've seen this pattern before at the Republican-controlled Legislative Audit. The state treasurer has made some unwise investment decisions. Despite intensive review, no evidence of law-breaking has been found. But Republicans want a criminal investigation anyway. Same thing with Planned Parenthood. Rapert hates them so, surely, if we only investigate long enough we can find something to pin on them.
It is Kenneth Starr redux. Don't like a politician or program, start a witch hunt. Sen, Rapert is the witch doctor. Faith, not facts, count.