Gov. Beebe Vetoes 12-Week Abortion Bill

Mar 4, 2013

Governor Mike Beebe

Gov. Mike Beebe issued his second veto of this year’s legislative session Monday and again it was an abortion-related bill.

The proposal by Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican from Conway, would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

It comes one week after the governor vetoed another abortion bill which banned the procedure after 20 weeks. The legislature easily overrode that veto making it law.

In his veto letter to lawmakers, Beebe wrote that the 12 week bill "blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court."

Rapert said Monday he is pursuing an override vote, with the Senate scheduled to consider that on Tuesday. It would then go to the House.

If it becomes law, the 12-week ban would be among the most stringent abortion laws in the county.

It would mandate that a woman seeking an abortion at that stage of a pregnancy have an abdominal ultrasound to determine if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

It includes exemptions in cases of rape, incest and fetal anomalies that would not allow the child to live after birth.

Matt DeCample, a spokesman Beebe, says the governor understands this veto could also be easily overridden.

"He did what he felt he had to do and the legislature will obviously do what they feel they have to do," DeCample said. "He felt the case law out there would render this bill unconstitutional and the potential cost to the state if in fact we are sued and we lose and have to pay the court costs for opposing counsel."