By March 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Arkansas 12-Week Abortion Ban Struck Down

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It has been called the “most extreme ban in the country.” Now a federal judge has struck down Arkansas’ attempt to ban most abortions, starting at the 12 week mark in a woman’s pregnancy. The judge said Friday that that viability outside of the womb, not simply a heartbeat, must remain the key factor in determining at what stage abortion should be banned or allowed.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright brought the ban to a halt while she reviewed it last year. But on Friday she declared the ban unconstitutional. Previous court decisions saying that abortions shouldn’t be restricted until after a fetus reaches viability – typically at 22 to 24 weeks – were cited as precedence and the basis for overturning the ban.

“The state presents no evidence that a fetus can live outside the mother’s womb at twelve weeks,” the judge explained.

Wright said further that only a doctor could determine viability, writing that: “The Supreme Court has … stressed that it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability at a specific point in the gestation period.”

Bettina Brownstein represented two doctors who perform abortions at a Little Rock clinic. She called the ban “demeaning to women.”

“The law never should have been passed in the first place, it’s so unquestionably unconstitutional,” she stated after the ban was overturned.

“Practically, in my opinion, it has very little effect. It’s duplicative of what doctors who perform abortions in Arkansas already have to do,” she continued.

State Senator Jason Rapert, R-Conway, on the other hand, sponsored the fetal heartbeat bill. He said that he was encouraged since a portion of the measure ended up being upheld.

“Now, anyone who presents for abortion in our state, they’re going to be given an opportunity to know if there’s a living heartbeat in their womb, and that is a win for the pro-life movement,” Rapert explained. “When people have to face the reality that there’s a living heartbeat in their womb, that will make them rethink about taking the life away from their baby.”

The 12-week exempted abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother was at risk, as well as when there were highly lethal fetal disorders. Last year also saw a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, when supporters of that particular bill argue that fetuses can feel pain.

(Article by M.B. David)

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