Arkansas Governor Vetoes Heartbeat Abortion Legislation

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe Vetoes ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bill

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has vetoed a controversial “heartbeat” abortion bill from the House that would ban abortion procedures after 20 weeks, The Huffington Post reported on Tuesday, February 26.

The veto will likely not stand because the Arkansas House approved House Bill 1037 by an 80-10 vote and would only require a simple majority for override, but Beebe was unaffected.

In a prepared statement, Beebe said he vetoed because the bill “would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, non-therapeutic abortion before viability,” adding that the bill would “squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent.”

“When I was sworn in as governor, I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously,” Beebe said.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Andy Mayberry, a Republican, said he was “disappointed” in the veto.

“Apparently he [Beebe] and I have differing opinions … We’ll enter into the next phase of the legislative process,” Mayberry said.

A stricter piece of legislation, Senate Bill 134 authored by Republican Senator Jason Rapert, would restrict abortions to 12 weeks, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted.

Both bills, however, do make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Still, Bettina Brownstein, an attorney with the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has vowed to fight either bill should they become law.

Brownstein said the 12-week ban would receive immediate attention from the ACLU, but admitted to the Democrat-Gazette that the 20-week ban could take a while.

Do you believe laws like the Arkansas and Oklahoma “heartbeat” abortion bills are unconstitutional?

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