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Ban on abortions after 12 weeks becomes law

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 25, 2013

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Arkansas legislators have voted the nation’s strictest abortion ban into law, overriding Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of the measure. The law, approved by the Arkansas House of Representatives on March 6, prohibits most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Beebe vetoed the bill March 4, arguing that the measure “blatantly contradicts” the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the new law, doctors who perform abortions on women who are more than 12 weeks pregnant can lose their medical licenses. Exceptions exist if the woman is a rape or incest victim, or if the woman’s life is in danger.

Other states that have abortion time-frame restrictions make it illegal for a woman to undergo an abortion starting at 20 weeks postfertilization, or 22 weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period. Medical experts generally have set fetus viability at around 24 weeks of gestation.

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to challenge the Arkansas ban in court.

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