Former Arkansas House Minority Leader, John Burris, appeared on Capitol View this past Sunday alongside Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Grant Tennille. When asked about the Arkansas Abortion Amendment, the former representative said, “I think we’re a pro-life state and I think it will fail if it makes the ballot.” 

While discussing the topic further, it became clear how little Burris actually knows about the amendment; for example, he believed the amendment allows access up to 17 weeks. The language of the amendment, however, would allow abortion access up to 18 weeks. 

Additionally, Burris bragged about his involvement in the 2013 legislative session. If you recall, during the 2013 legislative session the Arkansas House of Representatives overrode a veto by former Governor Mike Beebe for a bill banning abortion after 12 weeks. 

Further demonstrating his ignorance of the topic – abortion has done extremely well at the ballot box over the past three years – Burris said that if the amendment gets on the ballot, it would help Republicans. He cautioned Democrats to “Be careful what you ask for.” We want to remind folks that Arkansans for Limited Government, the ballot question committee putting forth the amendment, is explicitly non-partisan; it seems to be extremist Republicans that want to politicize this issue so dramatically. 

On top of being a former legislator, Burris also serves as a partner for the lobbying firm Capitol Advisors Group. Interestingly enough, according to the Capitol Advisors Group website, they are proud sponsors of the organization March for Dimes, which is the same organization that gave Arkansas an “F” in maternal mortality for 2023. The report also notes that Arkansas’ infant mortality rate has increased over the last decade and is far higher than the national average.

There is no telling how much funding the lobbying firm provides with their sponsorship but we urge Burris to look at the organization’s research before exclaiming how “pro-life” Arkansas is.