The 12-week abortion ban was embraced by the Arkansas Legislature, which overrode Governor Mike Beebe’s veto on Wednesday.
The nation’s most restrictive abortion bill is almost certainly headed for court, as several groups threatened to sue if it became law.
The abortion bill will ban the procedure at the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected through ultrasound
The law was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature earlier this week. Beebe then vetoed the bill. However, the legislature was able to override the veto with a simple majority. Beebe, a Democrat, called the 12-week abortion ban bill “blatantly unconstitutional.”
It is the sharpest challenge so far to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in the 1970s. The law is called the “Human Heartbeat Protection Act” and is the first statewide victory for an emerging group within the anti-abortion movement.
The 12-week abortion ban is a contradiction to Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb. That time period is usually between 22 and 24 weeks.
The 12-week abortion ban comes just one week after Arkansas passed another restrictive abortion bill, which outlawed the procedure at 20 weeks. NARAL Pro-Choice America immediately condemned the new Arkansas abortion law. The group called it an attempt to “lure the [Supreme Court’ to discard the Roe framework entirely by moving away from the viability standard established in Roe.”
NARAL also released a statement about the bill after Beebe’s veto was overridden, saying, “It’s tragic that Arkansas lawmakers can’t understand that outlawing abortion as early as 12 weeks is not only dangerous, but a complete assault on women’s freedom and privacy.”
The new bill will go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns later this month or early April. Both the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York and the American Civil Liberties Union have vowed legal action against Arkansas for the bill. They hope to have it voided before it take effect.
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