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House panel tables abortion restriction bill

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 5, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.

— An Arkansas House panel has put off discussion of a bill that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The House Public Health Committee on Tuesday tabled discussion of the legislation, which would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, the sponsor of the proposal, told lawmakers on the House panel he wanted a special meeting of the committee next week to discuss the bill. Committee Chairman Rep. John Burris said he thought such a meeting was appropriate but needed to figure out its timing.

The measure cleared the Senate last week.

Gov. Mike Beebe and House Speaker Davy Carter have said they have concerns about the proposal’s constitutionality but neither has indicated whether he would oppose the bill.

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