Arkansas Adopts Toughest Abortion Limits in U.S.
“The Arkansas Legislature has once again disregarded women’s health care and passed the most extreme anti-women’s health bill in the country,” said Jill June, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “With this bill, the Arkansas Legislature will force many women to seek unsafe care.”
The 12-week ban would prohibit abortions from the point when a fetus’ heartbeat can typically be detected using an abdominal ultrasound. It includes exemptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and highly lethal fetal disorders. The 20-week prohibition, which is based on the disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain by the 20th week and therefore deserves protection from abortion, includes all of the same exemptions except for fetal disorders.
Six Democrats joined with Republicans in voting to override the veto of the 12-week ban. Last week, only two Democrats voted to override the veto of the 20-week ban.
“I think a lot of people felt some pressure after the last vote,” said House Minority Leader Greg Leding, a Democrat from Fayetteville.
The measure is among several abortion restrictions lawmakers have backed since Republicans won control of the House and Senate in the November election. Republicans hold 21 of the 35 Senate seats, and 51 of the 100 seats in the House. It takes a simple majority in both chambers to override.
Beebe has signed into law one of those measures, a prohibition on most abortion coverage by insurers participating in the exchange created under the health care law.