Arkansas Abortion Bill Banning Most Procedures Passes State Senate
Opponents have also noted that the only way to detect a fetal heartbeat at six weeks is by using a vaginal probe.”Can you imagine what kind of feeling that would cause when inserted into a woman?” Sen. Stephanie Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, asked Rapert on the Senate floor. Flowers voted against the bill. “No,” Rapert, R-Conway, replied.
The Arkansas Senate voted Thursday to prohibit most abortions if a heartbeat is detected, ignoring warnings from opponents that banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy would invite lawsuits.
If enacted, the ban would be the most stringent in the nation. The Ohio House passed a similar ban in 2011, but it was sidelined in the Senate last year over concerns that it might be found unconstitutional. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters Thursday that’s the same concern that he’s researching.
“I’m waiting on lawyers. I think that’s the big concern right now - does it run afoul of the Supreme Court or constitutional restrictions?” Beebe said. “That’s the first thing we’re looking at.”
The Senate approved the new ban the same day that a House committee advanced two other abortion restrictions, part of a package of legislation anti-abortion groups believe are poised to become law now that Republicans control the state General Assembly.
The Senate approved the proposed “Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act” by a 26-8 vote. The measure, which now heads to a House committee, requires a test to detect a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed. If one is detected, a woman could not have an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and if a mother’s life is in danger.