US judge strikes down Arkansas' 12-week abortion ban

Little Rock (KATV)-U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright struck down Arkansas' abortion law banning abortions after 12 weeks into a pregnancy. The judge upheld a provision in the law requiring a person seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound in search of a heartbeat and receive a report.

The judge ruled a baby's viability outside the wound was the factor that should be considered in determining the legality of abortions.

"We were most concerned about a law that attempts to ban abortion in a time period where the U.S. Supreme Court has been clear that intrudes upon individual liberty interests," said Holly Dickson, legal director for ACLU Arkansas.

Sen. Jason Rapert told Channel 7 News said he was glad the heartbeat provision was upheld.

"Actually I'm very happy for that, however obviously I believe that the court should have upheld the 12 week ban. It was passed duly by the people of the state of Arkansas. And I believe that in time in the future that possibly we will see that upheld," Rapert said.

The bill was passed last year during the session and vetoed by Gov. Mike Beebe. The legislature passed it again. That's when the ACLU took it to the courts. The ACLU said today, however, the heartbeat provision is symbolic in nature.

"We'll be watching to see if they have any practical effect, but for today we are relieved that the court saw this for what it was and enjoined the law," Dickson said.

Rapert says he hopes to continue with an appeal.

"I've consistently said where there is a heartbeat, there is life and I'm glad today that heartbeat is at least going to be given view," Rapert said.