The nation's highest court has asked opponents of Arkansas' voided 12-week abortion ban to respond by next month to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's request to have the law upheld as constitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday requested a response by Dec. 10 to Rutledge's petition. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in May upheld a federal judge's ruling striking down the ban.
Rutledge has argued that abortion restrictions should no longer be based on a fetus' ability to live outside the womb, usually at 22 to 24 weeks' gestation. She said the new standard should be whether a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.
The majority-Republican Legislature enacted the ban in 2013, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat.