UPDATE: Ark. panel approves 12-week abortion ban

By ANDREW DeMILLOAssociated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A House panel has advanced legislation that would ban most abortions in Arkansas at 12 weeks of pregnancy, after Democrats questioned the way the measure was approved earlier.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on Tuesday approved the abortion ban by an 11-5 vote. The panel had approved the restriction by a voice vote earlier, but House Speaker Davy Carter sent it back to the panel after Democrats objected to the way it was handled.

The measure now heads to the House for a vote.

The panel earlier Tuesday approved a separate measure that would ban most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe has said he has constitutional concerns about the bills, but has not said whether he'll veto them.

COMPLETE COVERAGEArk. lawmaker proposes new abortion restriction (Jan. 28)Ark. Senate passes measure to ban most abortions (Jan. 31)Ark. Gov. suggests abortion bill unconstitutional (Feb. 4)Ark. lawmakers delay vote on 12 week abortion bill (Feb. 12)Changed abortion bill fails Ark. House panel vote (Feb. 14)Ark. panel approves 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 19)Poll: 3/5 of Ark. voters support proposed abortion ban at 12 weeks (Feb. 21)Ark. Senate panel advances 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 27)Ark. Senate approves 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 28)Beebe vetoes 12 week abortion ban (March 4)Override of Beebe's veto may open state to litigation (March 4)State Senate overrides Gov. Beebe's veto on 12 week abortion bill (March 5)House overrides Beebe's veto; 12 week abortion bill now law (March 6)Ark. GOP lawmaker says machine didn't record vote (March 7)