12-Week Abortion Ban Vetoed by Arkansas Governor Beebe

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A 12-week abortion ban, which could have been the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, was vetoed by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe on Monday.

Beebe said the ban would be unconstitutional.

He cited the same reason for vetoing a similar bill, that restricted abortions after 20 weeks.

Lawmakers were able to override this veto, however. Beebe said the law was violating the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973.

In the ruling, abortion is legal until a fetus is capable of surviving outside of the womb, estimated to be about 22 to 24 weeks.

If the 12-week abortion ban was implemented, it would mean procedures would be illegal after a heartbeat could be detected.

“Because it would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, non therapeutic abortion well before viability, Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court,” Beebe wrote.

The state’s 20-week abortion ban took effect immediately. If the 12-week abortion ban was passed, it would take effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn.

Legislature is set to adjourn later this month or in early April.

The bill includes exceptions for rape and incest, medical conditions that would not allow the fetus to live long after birth, and circumstances where delivery would be dangerous for the woman.

It was introduced by Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican, who wanted the measure to criminalize abortion after just six weeks, but amended it after lawmakers objected.

“I’m disappointed for all of the unborn children that could have been saved in this bill, but I have faith that the 70 percent of the Legislature that voted to pass the bill will be there to override this veto,” Rapert said.