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story.lead_photo.caption Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, from left, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor arrive before President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is refusing to revive an Arkansas law that would have banned abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy if doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge called the rejection a disappointment and said the law "was a reasonable way to protect the lives of more unborn children."

"The court should have granted certiorari to change its current doctrine that prevents a state from prohibiting abortions until later in pregnancy," Rutledge said in a statement. "Arkansas and other states have a profound interest in defending the life of the unborn and as attorney general, I had a duty to fully defend this statute.”

The 2013 law was found unconstitutional in 2014 by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright in Little Rock.

A request for comment from Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Bigelow, who proposed the law, was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.

The justices did not comment Tuesday in rejecting the state's appeal of lower court rulings that struck down the law. Federal judges called the law inconsistent with Supreme Court rulings that generally tie restrictions to the fetus' viability, not the presence of a heartbeat.

The high court already has an abortion case on its agenda, examining restrictions on Texas abortion clinics that the state says are meant to safeguard women's health. Abortion-rights supporters argue that the restrictions' only aim is to make abortions harder to obtain.

See Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • PM1118
    January 19, 2016 at 9:33 a.m.

    When will we stop using tax dollars to appeal blatantly unconstitutional laws?

  • 23cal
    January 19, 2016 at 9:37 a.m.

    I wonder just how many taxpayer dollars are being whizzed away on foredoomed illegal religion-fueled legislation by our current bunch of theocrats in the legislature and in government positions such as AG.

  • tenpoint
    January 19, 2016 at 10:02 a.m.

    women needs to stay in the place GOD made for them. the world would be better off . the men needs to do the same.

  • RitaSklar
    January 19, 2016 at 12:34 p.m.

    While the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed some onerous, unnecessary roadblocks for women seeking abortions, the Court has continued to uphold and reaffirm the constitutional right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy up to the point of fetal viability. No one who knows anything about physiology believes a fetus is anywhere near viability at 12 weeks. Anyone who has suffered a miscarriage in a wanted pregnancy can tell you that. It's ridiculous. The state should not be passing, or fighting to uphold, ridiculous legislation. It is time for the State of Arkansas to stop trying to practice medicine, and stop interfering in the doctor patient relationship of a pregnant woman. The ACLU will continue to fight attempts to violate women's constitutional right to reproductive healthcare.

  • Popsmith
    January 19, 2016 at 12:40 p.m.

    Abortion is still murder.

  • GOHOGS19
    January 19, 2016 at 12:45 p.m.

    sad day for those who can't speak up for themselves. there is no constitutional right to kill another human being, period.

  • bosoxfan
    January 19, 2016 at 12:51 p.m.

    Be glad when Rutledge comes up for re-election. Hopefully by then voters will see the mistake made putting her in office. The woman can't separate her personal beliefs from the law. All she's done is waste taxpayer dollars promoting her personal agenda.

  • nwar
    January 19, 2016 at 12:59 p.m.

    Thanks Rita for all you do.

  • Packman
    January 19, 2016 at 1:17 p.m.

    Sure, Rita. Only crazy Christians believe life begins at conception. Well, crazy Christians and pretty much every medical school textbook ever written on the subject.
    And by all means Rita, let's make sure taxpayers subsidize that Planned Parenthood abortion mill. Time for the government to stop practicing medicine? WTF? So, you don't support the criminalization of distributing of drugs any where, any time, any place? Moron. Libs are f'ing morons.

  • dunk7474
    January 19, 2016 at 1:22 p.m.

    Rutledge has not done one thing to help Arkansas. She is completely worthless and zero brain cells. All you people who hate abortion, would you like to adopt a child? If not, why don't you just shut up.