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Arkansas legislature overturns veto of late-term abortion ban

The Republican-controlled Arkansas state legislature has overturned Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a bill that would prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to AP.

The chamber also passed a more restrictive abortion bill that would ban most abortions after the 12th week, which Beebe will have to decide whether to veto.

Beebe vetoed the 20-week bill on Tuesday, saying that he thought it violated the law under Roe v. Wade. The landmark Supreme Court case set the cutoff at 24 weeks, while Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 changed it to 22 weeks.

The state House quickly overrode the veto on Wednesday and the state Senate followed suit Thursday. Republicans needed only a majority in both chambers to override.

Beebe has not indicated whether he will also veto the 12-week bill.

Seven other states ban abortion after 20 weeks: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina. Those states allow for an exception when the mother's life is at stake. The Arkansas bill also has exceptions for rape and incest.

Late-term abortion has also been in the news in New York state, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is attempting to codify that late-term abortion is legal when the health of the mother is at stake, rather than just her life.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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Aaron Blake · February 28, 2013

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