February 27, 2013 — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) on Tuesday vetoed a bill (HB 1037) that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, although the Legislature could override his decision, the AP/New York Times reports (AP/New York Times, 2/26). The measure would have allowed exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life.
Beebe said the legislation, if enacted, "would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion before viability," which would "squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent" (Parker, Reuters, 2/26).
Possible Override Vote
State Rep. Andy Mayberry (R), who sponsored the bill, said he would seek a vote to override the veto (AP/New York Times, 2/26). Arkansas law requires a simple majority to override a governor's veto; the measure passed the House in an 80-10 vote and the Senate by 25-7.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland President and CEO Jill June said in a statement, "This veto sends a message to the Arkansas Legislature that lawmakers need to quit focusing on unconstitutional abortion bans that are dangerous for Arkansas women."
According to Reuters, seven states have laws that restrict or ban abortion after 20 weeks, often based on the disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain at that point in development. Similar laws in Arizona and Georgia are facing legal challenges (Reuters, 2/26).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership