The Arkansas Senate voted yesterday to override Governor Mike Beebe’s (D) Tuesday veto of a bill that bans abortion at twenty weeks. The Senate voted 19 to 14 in favor of overriding the veto following a House override vote of 53 to 28 on Wednesday. In Arkansas, a majority vote in both houses is the only requirement to override a veto and pass a bill into law. The passage of the bill makes Arkansas the tenth state to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks.
Beebe vetoed the bill on claims that it was unconstitutional. Additionally, the 20 week ban violates the legal threshold enacted by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has held that bans on abortion before a fetus is viable are unconstitutional. Viability usually occurs after the 24 week mark.
The state legislature also approved a bill outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected through an abdominal ultrasound, which typically occurs at 12 weeks. The bill now goes before Governor Beebe, who is expected to veto the legislation.
Media Resources: New York Times 2/28/13; Reuters 2/28/13; Feminist Newswire 2/28/2013, 2/14/2013
State senate building in Little Rock, capital of Arkansas from Shutterstock