FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A resolution to make Washington County a “Pro-life county” will go before the full quorum court Thursday evening.
Justice of the Peace Patrick Deakins introduced this resolution. He says his goal is for the county to have a clear voice on reproductive rights.
The resolution has no legal authority but more so communicates a message, the will of the county. Deakins says it may be the first county to pass a resolution like this in the state. He says it represents the values of the people he represents in his county.
University of Arkansas Political Science Assistant Professor Karen Sebold says counties traditionally don’t pass resolutions that involve moral or cultural issues. Adding it’s more seen at the state or federal level but she isn’t surprised by this political move.
“It’s a way for those kinds of local leaders to reaffirm their conservative stance as the state is becoming more conservative. It’s a way for them to gain attention certainly this is going to be a popular resolution or tactic in their party,” said Sebold.
Those against the resolution voiced their opinions during the quorum court committee meeting a few weeks ago. Some people even had to be escorted out by sheriff’s deputies.
If this resolution passes you can expect to see the pro-life ideology promoted throughout the county.
Deakins says he wants expecting mothers, and families to feel supported to bring a child into this world and wants to bring awareness to resources available for expecting mothers to make them choose life.
However, some residents who spoke out about the resolution at a public meeting a few weeks ago say it instead sends a message that women don’t have a say in what happens to their bodies.
Sebold says if passed this resolution could also have an economic impact.
“There may be groups that say hey we are not sure we want to do business in Washington county or Benton County as a result of this resolution because we believe it hinders the rights of different individuals,” said Sebold.
She adds the region has already seen some impact following the passing of restrictive abortion and transgender laws in the state, leading to groups pulling out or reconsidering its association with Arkansas. Locally it happened with the Fayetteville Cyclocross World Championships.
The full quorum court will take on this resolution Thursday night and Sebold says they will have to consider if it is appropriate for the county government to take a stance on this issue.