12-Week Abortion Ban Heads To The Governor's Desk

Feb 28, 2013

The Arkansas Senate is advancing a bill to Governor Mike Beebe that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.  This comes immediately after the upper chamber voted Thursday morning to override the Governor’s veto of a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks.

Representative Andy Mayberry, a Republican from Hensley, sponsored the 20-week ban. He says it’s been a personal mission.

“It’s different than some kind of tax cut bill or something like that, this has immediate effect on the lives of babies,” Mayberry told reporters outside the Senate chamber following the vote.

Abortion rights advocates and the Governor have said the bill is unconstitutional, but Mayberry says he’s not too concerned that there will be legal challenges because similar 20-week abortion bans in other states are already being challenged in court and any decision there would likely apply to the Arkansas law.

Those challenges may instead be focused on the 12-week ban because it would likely be the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

Jill June, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which operates clinics in Little Rock and Fayetteville, says the bills are a surprising blow to women’s health in the state.

“It’s a shocking disregard for the constitution and the women of the state of Arkansas, and yes, I was deeply shocked and saddened to see that the legislature had sunk to this new low,” June said.

Though the Governor vetoed the 20-week ban, he’s not saying what he will do about the 12-week ban.
"I’ll let you know when I take the action,” he told reporters.

Beebe says he doesn’t talk about vetoes until he makes them, but he has said he thinks it’s more unconstitutional than the 20-week ban. However, the Governor’s veto likely won’t prevent the more restrictive law from taking effect.