If an unborn baby’s heart is beating, Arkansas abortionists can do nothing to stop it, state lawmakers decided Wednesday morning.
The Arkansas House of Representatives voted 56-33 to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of a bill banning abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy or after a baby’s heartbeat is detected.
The state Senate voted to override the veto 20-14 on Wednesday.
With the new law, Arkansas has the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation.
The bill, which maintains exceptions for rape, incest, to save the mother’s life, or for severe birth defects, is set to become law 90 days after the legislature adjourns—at the end of March or early April.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican from Conway, Ark., who watched Thursday’s vote from the House gallery, said a number of law firms have offered to help the state defend the laws in court, if need be. “I’m just grateful that this body has continued to stand up for the bills that have passed,” he said. “The eyes of the entire nation were on the Arkansas House of Representatives today.”
Thursday’s vote is the second time in six days the state legislature passed pro-life laws that defied the governor’s wishes. Last week lawmakers overrode Beebe’s veto of a fetal pain abortion ban, which restricted abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Both bills received bipartisan support. Six Democrats voted along with Republicans in voting to override the veto of the 12-week ban. Last week, just two Democrats voted to override the veto of the 20-week ban.
During the hearings Beebe deemed both measures unconstitutional in that they contradict the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion until the baby would viably survive outside the womb, but the measures’ supporters, who expect court challenges, remain undaunted.
“Not the governor, nor anyone else other than the courts, can determine if something is constitutional or unconstitutional,” Rep. Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, Ark., said in urging his colleagues to override Beebe.