Heather Ginsberg

Well Arkansas has officially become the state with the most restrictive abortion law and has made a case for life. The new law is a near-ban on abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy. Unless a lawsuit or court action intervenes before it takes effect this summer, it looks like Arkansas will become the toughest state to get an abortion after the 3 month mark.

Lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Legislature defied Gov. Mike Beebe, overriding the Democrat's veto. The House voted 56-33 on Wednesday to override Beebe's veto, a day after the Senate voted to do the same.

The votes come less than a week after the Legislature overrode a veto of a separate bill banning most abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy. That bill took effect immediately after the final override vote, whereas the 12-week ban won't take effect until this summer.

Abortion rights advocates say they will sue over this vote, but those who advocated and voted for this law are not scared of this challenge. The governor, who has continually stated that these laws are unconstitutional due to the Roe v. Wade decision, will face opponents from the Right.

"Not the governor, nor anyone else other than the courts, can determine if something is constitutional or unconstitutional," Rep. Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, said in urging his colleagues to override Beebe.

Bill sponsor Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican from Conway, watched the vote from the House gallery and said a number of law firms have offered to help the state defend the laws in court, if it comes to that.

"I'm just grateful that this body has continued to stand up for the bills that have passed. The eyes of the entire nation were on the Arkansas House of Representatives today," he said.

This 12-week ban will prohibit abortions from the point when a baby’s heart rate can be heard through 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.” And 6 Democrats even crossed the aisle to join Republicans on this vote.

So if you can hear the heartbeat at 12 weeks, how is it that anti-abortion advocates can claim it is not a live being in there? Thank you to Arkansas for standing with the women and children of your state and protecting their lives.


Heather Ginsberg

Heather Ginsberg is Townhall's web editor and community manager. Follow her on Twitter

@HeatherGinsberg

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography