It's now more difficult to obtain an abortion in the Natural State. On Thursday the largely Republican General Assembly of Arkansas successfully overturned Democratic Governor Mike Beebe's decision on Tuesday to veto a bill, passed by both chambers earlier this month, that prohibits women from obtaining abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy. Since the law takes effect right away, Arkansas immediately joined seven other states — Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina — where performing abortions after 20 weeks, if the pregnancy does not otherwise threaten the life of the mother, is banned. Unlike any of those states, however, the Arkansas bill included "exceptions" for rape and incest.
That doesn't mean Arkansas's anti-abortion caucus is done, though. Shortly after overturning Beebe's veto, the state legislature passed a different bill that would prohibit abortions on women pregnant for more than 12 weeks — which, if made law, would be the most restrictive abortion policy of any state. That bill is now headed to the desk of Governor Beebe, who is likely to veto it. When asked on Tuesday to explain his decision to veto the 20-week ban, Beebe told reporters that it would contravene Roe v. Wade, which gives states discretion in deciding when a fetus is considered viable. (The bill he vetoed — and which is now law — is based on the contentious notion that a fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.