Arkansas Governor Hopes Abortion Ban Will Trigger Roe v. Wade Challenge
Plus: Wisconsin may approve microschools, what will Biden Title IX guidance look like, and more...
Abortion ban "is not constitutional," governor tells CNN. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that he hopes the state's new, near-total ban on abortion will trigger a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The law bans abortion "in all cases except to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency." Hutchinson signed it into law earlier this month, instituting fines of up to $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison for anyone who performs an abortion on someone whose life is not at risk.
Hutchinson told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that he knows the new Arkansas abortion law "is not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now."
However, the Republican governor "signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. That is the intent of it," he said. "I think there's a very narrow chance the Supreme Court will accept that case, but we'll see."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has promised to challenge the ban.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a federal court has put a temporary halt to a measure, signed into law in February, that would ban most abortions there.
The South Carolina law bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur as early as three-and-a-half weeks after conception. "But before the governor's pen hit the paper, Planned Parenthood and other groups filed a motion against the state and Attorney General Alan Wilson to stop the law from taking effect," notes WLTX.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis issued a temporary restraining order against enforcing the South Carolina ban. Judges have responded similarly to so-called heartbeat bills in a number of other states.
"Similar bills have been passed by other states and are tied up in the courts," WLTX points out. "In passing the law, some South Carolina Republican lawmakers had hoped that the new conservative majority at the U.S. Supreme Court might take a look at their law and others like it."
Biden and Title IX. During his tenure as Barack Obama's vice president, now-President Joe Biden was behind many of the administration's worst interpretations of Title IX (the law governing sex discrimination—and these days, a whole lot more—in schools). Some of the problems with Obama-era interpretations were remedied in more recent years. But with Biden's executive pledge to revise Title IX interpretations once again, can we expect a return to the worst Title IX guidance? Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) suggests on Twitter that we will not.
"Given Biden was the public face of the Obama Title IX guidance, we were concerned about a major rollback of the reforms. Two weeks ago, he issued an executive order for ED to consider rescinding the regs," tweeted Lukianoff. "However, I will be surprised if he tries to reinstate the Obama-era Title IX policies."
Lukianoff gives two reasons: Public opinion has changed, and the legal landscape has changed.
1. Public opinion is not where it was in 2011. Thanks to the work of writers like @larabazelon, @jeanniesgersen, @ScottGreenfield, @kcjohnson9, @LauraKipnis @staylor5448, @EmilyYoffe, & many others, there's awareness of Title IX overreach & abuse. 8/10
— Greg Lukianoff (@glukianoff) March 19, 2021
2. The legal landscape now is VERY different than it was in 2011. Since then, over 151 courts have issued favorable decisions to students who've raised concerns about lack of meaningful due process in Title IX processes. 9/10https://t.co/rofkgHJTS4
— Greg Lukianoff (@glukianoff) March 19, 2021
Wisconsin may approve "microschools." A new bill in the Wisconsin state legislature would add microschools to the options parents can choose "to satisfy the compulsory school attendance requirement." The bill defines a microschool as "an instruction program provided to a child by the child's parent, or a person designated by the parent, that is provided to 1) two to five family units; 2) no more than 20 children; and 3) participating children at a physical location."
"Under current law, an instruction program provided to a child by the child's parent, or a person designated by the child's parent, that is provided to more than one family unit does not qualify as a home-based private educational program," the legislation notes.
"While 2020 brought this lack of options to light, they've always existed and we should be looking to give more parents more options even if we don't think that our families would use that option currently," said state Rep. Shae Sortwell (R–Two Rivers), who sponsored the bill. "Even if you don't think it's necessary for your family now, you never know how life's circumstances are going to change."
• The Biden administration continues to botch the handling of unaccompanied minors at the border. "The U.S. government on Saturday was housing approximately 15,500 unaccompanied migrant minors, including 5,000 teenagers and children stranded in Border Patrol facilities not designed for long-term custody," a CBS News review of federal data found.
• A Chicago public school reportedly called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on a mother for being less than 10 minutes late picking her child up from school.
• "Texas lawmakers' plan for stopping social media firms from blocking or banning certain ideas or speakers has just one itty, bitty problem—it's flagrantly unconstitutional," writes Jared Schroeder, a Southern Methodist University journalism professor and author of The Press Clause and Digital Technology's Fourth Wave.
• Indiana Republicans are fighting for the right to charge more teenagers as adults.
• The city of Evanston, Illinois, is instituting a "narrow and targeted" reparations program for black residents whose families were affected by historically racist and discriminatory housing policies, reports Reuters.
• Utah jails must allow prisoners to continue with medically prescribed birth control.