(PRESS RELEASE) A federal district judge permanently struck down an Arkansas law banning abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy today, saying the extreme measure would “prevent a woman’s constitutional right to elect to have an abortion before viability.”
SB 134 would have banned abortion in Arkansas at 12 weeks of pregnancy with only narrow exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and medical emergencies. SB 134 was enacted in March 2013—just two days after Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe vetoed the measure—when both houses in the state legislature voted to override his veto.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Today the court has rightfully reaffirmed what Governor Beebe acknowledged in vetoing this extreme legislation—that state lawmakers cannot take away rights that the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court have guaranteed.
The physicians are represented by Stephanie Toti, senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Talcott Camp with the ACLU, and Bettina Brownstein and Holly Dickson with the ACLU of Arkansas.
The Arkansas law was one of the most extreme in the nation, only surpassed by a currently-enjoined North Dakota measure banning the procedure as early as six-weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant. Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court refused to review a decision permanently blocking Arizona’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, and courts in Idaho and Georgia have also recently blocked similar pre-viability bans.