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.