Ark. governor to veto bill banning abortions at 20 weeks

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Democratic Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said Tuesday he will veto a bill that would ban most abortions in the state at 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

The bill passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature is based on the disputed belief that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. It includes exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Beebe said previously that he had constitutional concerns about the 20-week ban and said in an emailed statement that he would veto the bill. Opponents say it runs afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion until the point where fetuses can survive outside the womb, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

Lawmakers can override Beebe’s veto with a simple majority.

The House approved the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Andy Mayberry, on an 80-10 vote last week. It had been previously approved by the Senate.

While the bill makes an exception for cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy, it does not have an exemption for cases in which the fetus has a fatal disease or disorder.

Beebe said he met with Mayberry before making his decision.

Mayberry’s bill is one of two abortion measures under consideration by the Legislature, which has a Republican majority for the first time since Reconstruction.

The second bill bans abortion at the point in which a heartbeat can be detected using an abdominal ultrasound — typically about 12 weeks into a pregnancy. That bill has already passed both chambers but is headed back to the Senate on Wednesday for lawmakers to vote on amendment that includes an exemption for fatal fetal disorders.

The House already approved the version with the amendment.

The original version of the “heartbeat” bill passed the Senate 26-8.

More in Local News

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Suspected escort charged with felony assault, robbery

She allegedly told police she shot the man in the head “because he was performing (a sex act) wrong.”

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

Lives were on the line

After an estimated 350K emergency calls over 35 years, dispatcher Steve Williams is set to retire.

Most Read