UPDATE: 20-week abortion bill heads to governor's desk
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - The Arkansas House passed a bill Thursday that would ban most abortions in the state at 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
KATV's Katherina Yancy was in the House chamber when representatives voted 80-10 in favor of the legislation. A previous version of the bill passed the House 75-20.
The newer version lawmakers sent to Gov. Mike Beebe's desk Thursday includes exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, but not for any lethal fetal disorders. The proposal is based on the disputed idea that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.
The House is also passed a separate measure to ban most abortions at 12 weeks into a pregnancy, known as the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act. The last item on Thursday's agenda, it also had the longest debate on the House floor. Speaking against the measure, Rep. John Edwards called it unconstitutional, saying, "I have to put my trust in women."
Eventually, the bill was passed in a 68-20 vote.
Gov. Mike Beebe has said he, also, has constitutional concerns about both bills but declined to say whether he would veto either.
COMPLETE COVERAGEBills to restrict abortions pass Ark. House (Feb. 4)Ark. Senate passes 20 week abortion ban (Feb. 13)20 week abortion bill heads to governor's desk (Feb. 21)Beebe vetoes 20 week abortion bill (Feb. 26)House votes to override governor's veto (Feb. 27)Ark. Senate overrides veto on abortion bill (Feb. 28)Roll call from veto vote in Ark. Senate (Feb. 28)Beebe: Override doesn't change concerns about abortion ban (Feb. 28)Override of Beebe's veto may open state to litigation (March 4)Many unsure who would police 20 week abortion ban (March 5)