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story.lead_photo.caption Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, speaks in the senate chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The Arkansas Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of Rapert's legislation that would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward and would give the state the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

The Arkansas House of Representatives has voted 56-33 to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a bill that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks' gestation.

Only a simple majority was needed to override Beebe's veto after the Senate on Tuesday voted 20-14 to do so.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, bans abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat is detected. It will go into effect this summer.

"I can tell you today I'm grateful," Rapert said after the vote. "The eyes of this nation [have] been on the Arkansas House of Representatives today. And the eyes of this nation [have] seen that people are ready for change. I've heard from them .... Again, if there's a heartbeat, there's life and we're going to stand up for this law, regardless of who opposes it."

The law was originally vetoed by Beebe on Monday.

Rep. Ann V Clemmer, R-Benton, along with Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, spoke in favor of the override in front of the committee on Monday, prior to the vote.

"I'm very happy, relieved," Clemmer said. "I mean, any other adjective. But I mean, it's a serious matter. I'm not having a victory dance here. I hope the court listens to us."

In an interview Tuesday with Arkansas Online, Rapert said he spoke with House members earlier that day who said they would support the bill in the override vote.

Outside the chamber, Rita Sklar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union for Arkansas, said the ACLU will move for litigation of the law "as soon as possible."

"It shows a disregard for women as human beings," Sklar said. "In fact, Representative Klemmer said, to my amazement, that a 12-week-old fetus has the right as a fully human person to protect itself against its own mother. Let's remember that at 12 weeks, a fetus cannot live outside its mother and pregnancy affects the mother's health, the well-being ... there are lots of reasons to have abortions and they should remain with the woman, her family and her doctor, and not give the choice over to the government."

Senate Bill 134 was the second abortion ban to be vetoed by Beebe and then overridden by lawmakers in as many weeks.

House Bill 1037, which banned abortions after 20 weeks' gestation, with some exceptions, was vetoed on Feb. 26. Lawmakers last week overturned the veto and made that bill law.

Beebe has said he vetoed the bills because he believes they are unconstitutional and will spur costly lawsuits.

The Arkansas Constitution states the policy of the state is "to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution."

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.

Read more about this story in Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


Beebe vetoes Senate Bill 134


Abortion ban override approved by House

The Arkansas House of Representatives approved a Senate motion to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a 12-week abortion ban. The bill will go into law 90 days after legislature adjourns. (By David Harten)
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YEAS: 56
  • D. Altes
  • Baird
  • Ballinger
  • Baltz
  • Barnett
  • Bell
  • Biviano
  • Bragg
  • Branscum
  • J. Burris
  • Carnine
  • Catlett
  • Clemmer
  • Collins
  • Cozart
  • Dale
  • Davis
  • Deffenbaugh
  • J. Dickinson
  • Dotson
  • D. Douglas
  • C. Douglas
  • Eubanks
  • Farrer
  • Fite
  • Gillam
  • Gossage
  • Hammer
  • Harris
  • Hickerson
  • Hobbs
  • Holcomb
  • Hopper
  • House
  • Hutchison
  • Jean
  • Kerr
  • Lea
  • Linck
  • Lowery
  • S. Malone
  • Mayberry
  • D. Meeks
  • S. Meeks
  • Miller
  • Neal
  • Payton
  • Rice
  • Scott
  • Shepherd
  • Slinkard
  • Wardlaw
  • Westerman
  • H. Wilkins
  • Womack
  • Mr. Speaker
NAYS: 33
  • E. Armstrong
  • Broadaway
  • Copenhaver
  • J. Edwards
  • Ferguson
  • Fielding
  • Hillman
  • Hodges
  • Julian
  • Kizzia
  • Lampkin
  • Leding
  • Love
  • Magie
  • McCrary
  • McElroy
  • McGill
  • Murdock
  • Nickels
  • B. Overbey
  • Ratliff
  • Richey
  • Sabin
  • Steel
  • Talley
  • T. Thompson
  • Walker
  • D. Whitaker
  • B. Wilkins
  • Williams
  • Word
  • Wren
  • Wright
  • Alexander
  • Baine
  • Hawthorne
  • Jett
  • Lenderman
  • McLean
  • Perry
  • F. Smith
  • Vines

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  • RRYOUNG1961
    March 6, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.

    On next year's income tax form --- Check Yes to contribute to legal fees for irresponsible legislation.

  • Path86
    March 6, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

    ANOTHER sad day for Arkansas!

  • edo1962
    March 6, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

    Amen! Arkansas stands up today for those that cannot speak for themselves yet.

  • Concerned_Citizen
    March 6, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.

    I thought rupublicans wanted less government in thier lives....just shows what hipocrites they are....and don't even get me going on seperation of church and state....cause this right here is ALL about the church and nothing about personal freedoms!!!!

  • ToTheLeft
    March 6, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.

    C_C, you are so right, but they'll never see themselves. Big Brother is watching us. Next, they'll come for birth control and say it will be illegal to have sex unless you are trying to reproduce.

  • edo1962
    March 6, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

    Kelly-it's about the Child for once!

  • Thinking
    March 6, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.

    Less government should always a major objective, unless it involves abrogating a basic responsibilty of government. No one seems to object to laws that prohibit murder of those already born...or even the unborn if it is in a car wreck, etc. But somehow if the "mother" makes that decision, the unborn baby is less important than the "mother's" choice. It seems impossible to be consistent and oppose a law that would prohibit murder.

  • insultech112241630
    March 6, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.

    I know y'all are ladies and all, but I still think you are idiots.. Contraceptive control is available to all and at zero cost. Why doesn't any sane persons advocate it's use. These ladies are laying in the sack with no regard to human life, why don't they lay in the sack after taking a simple pill or getting an implant. I'm tired of having to pay for irresponsible people's choices. 85% of the American people would vote to BAN abortion. I think we should vote instead of listening to the media...

  • djigoo
    March 6, 2013 at 2:31 p.m.

    Idiot Teabaggers and Talibangelicals. Thanks for making Mississippi look more like a bastion of progressivism and social justice, Arkansas!

    I'm getting tired of being ashamed to be a native Arkansawyer.

  • herenow
    March 6, 2013 at 2:33 p.m.

    Let the lawsuits begin.
    Here the legislature wouldn't even let a minimum wage increase bill out of committee, but they find it critically important to go against Federal law and pass the most restrictive anti abortion legislation in the nation. They also spent an inordinate amount of time on concealed carry permits but have not stepped up to pass legislation that will offer insurance coverage to many of those very women who can ill afford coverage for the children they now have, to say nothing of the other uninsured or under-insured constituents they say they represent.
    Other than their opinion of what God sent them to Little Rock to do, who do they represent other than themselves and their fundamental religious beliefs.
    I wonder how soon many of them would change his/her mind about this issue if a child, grandchild or little sister was caught in the web they have spun?