Arkansas Bans Abortions After 12 Weeks

State will have strictest rule in the nation

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2013 4:53 PM CST

(Newser) – Arkansas is turning into ground zero in the fight over abortion. State lawmakers today easily override a veto and cleared the way for legislation that outlaws almost all abortions after 12 weeks, reports AP. When the measure goes into effect this summer, it will give Arkansas the strictest abortion law in the nation. The only exceptions are for rape, incest, and medical emergencies. Had the law been in place in 2011, it would have prevented about 20% of the state's 4,033 abortions that year, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The New York Times calls it the "sharpest challenge yet to Roe v. Wade," because that 1973 ruling says an abortion is legal up until the time a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks. Arkansas lawmakers chose 12 weeks because that's about the time a heartbeat can be detected with ultrasound. The ACLU promises to sue. Gov. Mike Beebe called the bill "unconstitutional" and said the state will have to spend a fortune defending it in court.

File photo of anti-abortion protesters.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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