Arkansas backs 12-week abortion ban — earliest in nation

The Arkansas Senate voted Tuesday to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of a bill that could become the earliest abortion ban in the nation.

The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled House, which could vote as early as Wednesday. If a majority votes to override the veto — as advocates on both sides expect — the bill will become law.

The Human Heartbeat Protection Act would ban abortions at 12 weeks into pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for cases of rape or incest, to save the life of the mother or for a lethal fetal condition.

In his veto statement Monday, Beebe said the bill “blatantly contradicts” Supreme Court precedent.

Last week, the Legislature overrode Beebe’s ban of a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks, and it went into effect immediately.

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