Local & Regional News
4:45 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Arkansas's 12-Week Abortion Ban

File photo of Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert, who pushed for passage of the 12 week abortion ban bill.
File photo of Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert, who pushed for passage of the 12 week abortion ban bill.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal judge has struck down Arkansas' attempt to ban most abortions beginning 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, saying viability, not a heartbeat, remains the key factor in determining whether abortions should be allowed.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last year had stopped enforcement of the law.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed it over Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's objections.

The judge made her decision final Friday. Wright said the 12-week ban undermined U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have said a fetus' ability to live outside the womb should be the controlling factor on whether abortions may occur.

She left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.