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Beebe vetoes 12-week abortion ban bill

By Lee Hogan

This article was originally published March 4, 2013 at 2:51 p.m. Updated March 4, 2013 at 7:06 p.m.


Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, right, keeps track of a roll call vote on his bill dealing with abortions after 12 weeks during a meeting of the House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Monday vetoed a bill that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation.

Senate Bill 134, sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, would have banned abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill would require any woman considering abortion after 12 weeks to receive an abdominal ultrasound to determine whether there is a heartbeat.

The bill includes exemptions for rape, incest or medical conditions that would not allow the fetus to live long after birth.

The Arkansas Department of Health shows that 815 abortions, or roughly 20 percent of all abortions, took place in Arkansas in 2011 at or after 12 weeks of gestation. The department shows a total of 4,033 abortions took place in 2011.

Beebe vetoed House Bill 1037 on Feb. 26., which banned most abortions after 20 weeks. The Arkansas House and Senate passed simple majorities last week to override Beebe's veto, making HB1037 state law.

In a letter Monday afternoon, Beebe cited the same reasons for vetoing Senate Bill 134 as he did in vetoing House Bill 1037.

"In short, because it would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability," Beebe wrote. "Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court."

Beebe continued that adopting unconstitutional laws would be costly to taxpayers.

"It has been suggested that outside groups might represent the State for free in any litigation challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 134, but even if that were to happen, that would only lessen the State's own litigation costs," Beebe wrote. "Lawsuits challenging unconstitutional laws also result in the losing party, in this case the state, being ordered to pay the costs and attorneys' fees incurred by the litigants who successfully challenge the law. Those costs and fees can be significant."

Beebe cited the last litigation fight in Arkansas over abortion, Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Jegley in 1999, which he stated cost Arkansas around $147,900. Beebe said litigation costs have risen since 1999, and said if Senate Bill 134 becomes law the cost to taxpayers, "will likely be significantly greater."

Read more in Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


Comments on: Beebe vetoes 12-week abortion ban bill

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rainbowharold55 says... March 4, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.

And so, another override, and another huge waste of taxpayer money defending this unconstitutional crap. Lower taxes? Smaller government? Doesn't look that way. We need to hire LOTS of lawyers now.

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mcgeenatesbcglobalnet says... March 4, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.

We can't add two-hundred fifty thousand Arkansans to our Medicaid rolls to insure they get some preventative care but we can ban women women from executing their constitutional right to an abortion! What are these people using for brains or is all about controlling a woman body by what ever means available?

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Concerned_Citizen says... March 4, 2013 at 3:36 p.m.

Where is the bill saying if a man wants to have a vasectomy, we need to stick a probe up his a**?

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edo1962 says... March 4, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.

Do the moral thing. Override it. Beebe doesn't get it.

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ToTheLeft says... March 4, 2013 at 3:41 p.m.

Why do this small-time lawmakers think they can overturn the United States Supreme Court? Harold, you are right. How much money are they wasting? The Republicans are aligning with the Taliban, thinking they can control women's choices and actions. That is WRONG.

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edo1962 says... March 4, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

Children are not a waste of money.

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GiveUsLiberty says... March 4, 2013 at 3:49 p.m.

Murder is Murder. Life begins at conception. If it didn't, none you you would be here to "second guess" the process.

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Packman says... March 4, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.

Hey Nate - How telling your use of the word "executing" in the same sentence about pro-abortion rights........

Hey Concerned - Mind telling us what part of a vasectomy results in the killing of an unborn child?

Hey Rainbow and ToTheLeft - Ever heard of Plessy v Ferguson? Lots of black folks are glad that particuilar piece of "unconstitutional crap" was overturned by a subsequent SCOTUS.

And is anyone surprised a term-limited liberal would veto a pro-life bill? How else can Beebe stay on John Brummett and Jane Fonda's Christmas card list. Oh, that's right. Those two don't subscribe to Christian beliefs. Beebe must be sucking up to the liberal lunatics for other reasons.

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STEPcoach says... March 4, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.

Well, Beebe strikes again. At least he's consistent - he is clearly in favor of killing babies. Seems like these Democrats would figure out it's just as easy to raise liberals from birth as it is to import them from south of the border. Now he says that if a baby's heart is beating, it STILL isn't alive! Maybe he should check to see if his own heart is working right. OVERRIDE him! and for you whiners who are complaining about the cost of saving the lives of children, how about have a governor that won't go against the will of the majority of the elected politicians so often so we don't have to fight him for decent legislation. He's just so excited about the prospect of a pile of dead babies he forgets his place. OVERRIDE him!!!

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gwen9 says... March 4, 2013 at 3:58 p.m.

you are right on the money!! These Liberals just...Don't.....get.....IT!! Amazing how they can twist the subject to justify MURDER!!

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