Arkansas in March 2013 adopted Senate Bill 134, "the nation's most restrictive abortion ban" after the Republican-dominated state House voted to override then-Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of it, according to USA Today
The measure sought to revise the Natural State’s abortion laws by banning most abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat was detected. However, a federal judge subsequently declared that part of the law unconstitutional while reasoning that the fetus’ viability, not heartbeat, determines the legality of such procedures.
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Here are quotes from both sides:
"Because it would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability, Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. 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."
— then-Gov. Mike Beebe in his veto letter, quoted by The Associated Press
in March 2013
“Given the opportunity to save lives of unborn children, this governor has always chosen this session to say, 'No.’ I'm disappointed for all of the unborn children that could have been saved in this bill, but I have faith that the 70 percent of the Legislature that voted to pass the bill will be there to override this veto."
— Republican State Sen. Jason Rapert
, The Associated Press Raepert’s prediction that Beebe’s veto would be overturned turned out to be correct.
“The Supreme Court has … stressed that it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability at a specific point in the gestation period. The court finds as a matter of law that the twelve-week abortion ban included in [the law] prohibits pre-viability abortions and thus impermissibly infringes a woman’s Fourteenth Amendment right to elect to terminate a pregnancy before viability."
— U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, the Los Angeles Times, March 2014
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“Now, anyone who presents for abortion in our state, they’re going to be given an opportunity to know if there’s a living heartbeat in their womb, and that is a win for the pro-life movement.”
, the Los Angeles Times, March 2014
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