Arkansas Governor Vetoes Unconstitutional Legislative Assault on Reproductive Rights

Ban on abortion at 12 weeks would have been most extreme anti-choice law in the country

(PRESS RELEASE) Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe vetoed a measure Monday that would have been the most extreme anti-choice law in the country by banning all abortions at 12 weeks of pregnancy with only narrow exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
 
Governor Beebe noted that SB134 was clearly unconstitutional his public statement announcing his reason for the veto: “In short, because it would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability, Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.”
 
Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, commended Governor Beebe for rejecting the extreme bill and called on the Arkansas Legislature to take no further action on SB134:
 
“Forty years of Supreme Court precedent clearly anchors every woman’s fundamental right to reproductive choice in the U.S. Constitution, which Governor Beebe has rightfully recognized in vetoing this extreme and dangerous bill.
 
“We strongly urge the Arkansas legislature to demonstrate an equal measure of respect for women’s constitutional rights and to allow Governor Beebe’s veto to stand.”
 
Last week, Governor Beebe also vetoed HB 1037, another extreme anti-abortion bill banning abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization, also noting his responsibilities to uphold the Arkansas and U.S. Constitutions. However, the Arkansas House and Senate voted just a few days after to overturn the veto and enact the bill into law.
 
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held—first in Roe v. Wade and again in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that states cannot ban abortion prior to viability.