On Tuesday Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions in Arkansas after 20 weeks. The bill passed in the state Senate on a vote of 25 to 7 and passed the state House on a vote of 80 to 10 before reaching Governor Beebe’s desk.
“Because it would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion before viability, House Bill 1037, if it became law, would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent,” Beebe wrote in the veto letter. “When I was sworn in as governor I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously.” Originally, Governor Beebe had agreed to sign the ban into law if it was passed by the state Congress.
The Arkansas state legislation has the power to override the Governor’s veto with a simple majority in both chambers. Both the Arkansas state House and Senate have majority support for the ban. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Andy Mayberry (R), has said he is confident that there will be enough votes from supporters of the 20-week ban to override the veto.