Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Abortion issues since the 2012 election

I'm trying something new where I go through various issues and see what's been happening since the 2012 election.  I'm going through the issues in alphabetical order.  I am using Project Vote Smart's database.

I'm starting out with the abortion issues.

Abortion issues have not come up with federally elected officials.  So, we'll go state by state.


Arkansas has tried to make itself the most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to abortion services. 

On January 31, 2013, the Arkansas Senate passed SB 134.  SB 134, known as the "fetal heartbeat bill", would make it illegal for abortions if a fetus was found to have a heartbeat via a vaginal ultrasound.  This could be as early as five weeks.  The Governor of Arkansas Mike Beebe vetoed the bill citing that it was "unconstitutional"and also stating that since it was unconstitutional the state's obligation, in case of lawsuits would be significant.  The Arkansas Senate decided to override the governor's veto.  But the Arkansas House has to vote to complete the veto.   The law will effectively prohibit abortions by the 12th week of pregnancies. 

On February 4, 2013, the Arkansas House passed HB 1037.  The Arkansas Senate passed the bill on February 18, 2013.  The bill would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks.  Govenor Mike Beebe vetoed the bill citing the same reasons for vetoing SB 134.  The claim is that fetuses (feti?) can feel pain at 20 weeks.  The Arkansas House and Senate overrode the veto.  It is currently the law in Arkansas. The law provides exemption in the case of a pregnancy jeopardizing the mother's health.  There is no exemption for rape or incest. The ACLU announced that they intend to sue.

On February 4, 2013, the Arkansas House passed HB 1100.  The House Bill would prohibit most abortion coverage on the state's health insurance exchange.  This has to do with Obamacare.  President Obama stated that the state's health insurance exchange would have to include at least one health insurance plan that did not cover abortion.  But most of them would include covering abortion.  There would be exemptions in the case of rape or incest.

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