News Abortion

Arkansas House Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban with No Exceptions

Robin Marty

Rape, incest, and fetal anomalies aren't good enough reasons for an abortion after 20 weeks in Arkansas, according to the House.

An Arkansas bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks has just passed the House, although it would still need a senate vote before being sent to the governor.

Via the Associated Press:

The 20-week ban, which prohibits the procedure based on the disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain at that point, was approved on a 75-20 vote…Rep. Greg Leding, the top Democrat in the House, opposed the measure and noted it did not include exemptions for fetal conditions that were incompatible with life. He also argued it was unfair to victims of rape and incest.

“The case made for that exclusion is that a woman should have been able to make that decision early in her pregnancy. But what if that woman is a 12-year-old girl and she’s raped by a family member or friend and she’s too afraid to speak or at that young age is simply unaware that she’s pregnant?” said Leding, D-Fayetteville.

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Although a 20-week ban would be unconstitutional under the viability standard set in Roe, the governor is currently more invested in deciding whether a different ban, which would make abortion illegal after the point in which an embryonic heartbeat could be found, is worth potentially signing into law if it reaches his desk. Today he announced that his office’s preliminary research into the bill says it would be unlikely to survive a court challenge.

The “heartbeat ban” still awaits a House committee meeting before it can receive a full House vote.

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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