Arkansas Enacts Tough Abortion Law, Promises Tougher

Bans abortions after 20 weeks, with eye on 12-week ban
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2013 9:16 AM CST
Arkansas Enacts Tough Abortion Law, Promises Tougher
Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, speaks to a reporter at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., where his bill dealing with abortion received the committee's recommendation Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Arkansas' Republican-dominated Senate voted yesterday to override a governor's veto a day after the House had done the same, banning nearly all abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy, reports the New York Times. Arkansas becomes the 10th state with such a law, despite a Supreme Court ruling that states cannot ban abortions before a fetus is viable—which doctors say usually coincides with the 24-week mark. The Arkansas Senate also passed an even more contentious bill yesterday that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks.

The goal of the newest anti-abortion legislation is to stop "abortion being used as birth control," says the senator behind the 12-week bill. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe has said he hasn't made a decision on the 12-week limit, but the Times reports he is likely to veto it. The ACLU has promised to challenge both Arkansas bans. "We’re seeing a real defiance of what the Supreme Court has held," said an official at one sexual health institute. (Read more abortion stories.)

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