The Arkansas House has decided to override Governor Mike Beebe's veto on the "Human Heartbeat Protection Act". If a heartbeat is detected by ultrasound, then the abortion would be prohibited. This can be detected as early as five weeks but almost all fetuses have a heartbeat that is detected by 12 weeks. Republican State Representative Ann Clemer urged lawmakers to override the veto. She also stated,"I really believe we are eliminating choice at all. We're just saying after 12 weeks, the choice is over. You have a choice for the first 12 weeks, that's almost three months."
Currently, the law in Arkansas prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. The new law would be in effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns. The law is going to be challenged by the ACLU and abortion rights groups. They say that the law flies in the face of the precedent established by Roe v. Wade. A judge in Idaho ruled a similar 20 week ban was unconstitutional. The ACLU announced that they would not challenge the 20 week ban at this time because they are two separate laws so they would require two lawsuits. Other states like Arizona and Georgia have had 20 week bans challenged in court. They are temporarily blocked while the courts sort out the case.
The reason for the 20 week ban is because pro-life advocates claim that fetuses can fill pain at that point. According to the Politico article linked above, "the leading organization of U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists says there is no legitimate scientific information to support that statement".
Governor Mike Beebe, who vetoed the bill, claimed that the law was unconstitutional and would open the state to lawsuits. Well, that's exactly what's going to happen. There will be lawsuits and the state of Arkansas will have to pay legal fees. The law will likely be struck down as unconstitutional and has very little chance of standing.
I hope it's worth it to make a stand.