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Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is asking a federal appeals court to uphold the state's 12-week abortion ban, arguing the prohibition furthers the state's interests in protecting pregnant women, unborn children and the medical profession.

McDaniel on Tuesday filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that it should overturn a federal judge's ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. McDaniel in April filed a notice with the court that he would appeal U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright's ruling.

Wright left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.

The Republican-led Legislature enacted the ban last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

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