Will passing SJR 8 (the tort reform constitutional amendment) lead to an increase in unscrupulous physicians and abortionists operating in Arkansas?
Rose Mimms thinks so, according to a recent column by Mike Masterson in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Mimms is the executive director of Arkansas Right To Life. She agreed to talk with me today about her concerns.
Mimms made it clear that her comments were her personal position and not those of the organization she works for. Arkansas Right To Life hasn’t taken a position on the legislation, according to Mimms.
Mimms doesn’t have any evidence to support her “fear that it would attract doctors of all kinds.” That’s not me criticizing her, but me just quoting her. She freely admitted to me in a phone interview that she doesn’t have evidence to back up her claim.
I had a mother that was in a number of nursing homes. I’ve had that experience. My mother didn’t die due to negligence, she died from her disease. It just wasn’t the best situation. I’ll just put it that way. The 30 odd years I’ve worked with Right To Life and knowing of the women that have been hurt by abortionists and to think that here we are in Arkansas…we’re so close to having an abortion-free state at least when it comes to surgical abortions. By limiting awards for medical malpractice could, I don’t know if it will, but I just have this fear that it could be an incentive for an abortionist to come to Arkansas and start a surgical practice… I don’t have any evidence or any proof. It’s just a fear that I have. We’ve passed a lot of laws that really deter the practice of abortion in Arkansas and to have a law that could possibly attract abortionists to our state…it concerns me and scares me. I don’t want that to happen.
Mimms said her mind wasn’t changed by data showing that abortion rates declined in Texas after damage ceilings were established there like those contained in SJR 8.
Abortion is declining nationally. This is something that’s been going down year after year. It’s a national trend. In Texas in particular they’ve done a fabulous job passing good, solid pro-life legislation that drove out a lot of abortionists due to the regulations they passed.
Mimms also said she just “fundamentally disagrees” with the many pro-life legislators who are also supportive of tort reform. State Sen. Missy Irvin has described SJR 8 as pro-life legislation, because it would lead to greater access to care.
I think we just fundamentally disagree. Some of them think this is a pro-life bill. I’m not saying it’s not a pro-life bill. There are concerns I have with it where I can’t support it as it is.
While I disagree with Mimms, I do appreciate her taking the time to talk with me. Heck, I support most of what her organization does. However, her concerns about tort reform seem to stem from an emotional reaction that has no basis in supporting evidence.
Unfortunately, this combination of qualities seem to be all too common among opponents of tort reform in Arkansas.