Amended Anti-Abortion Bill Headed to House Floor

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Anti-abortion legislation gains ground in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Thursday a panel approved a bill that would ban abortions after 12 weeks.

“We're so grateful for this vote and what it's taken us to get there,” said Senator Jason Rapert, R-Conway.

The Arkansas House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee voted Thursday to ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected after 12 weeks.

“We do still have time for a woman who wants to choose abortion to have one,” said Rep. Ann Clemmer, R-Benton.

Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, told 5NEWS he is “firmly opposed” to the bill.

“I think it puts a lot of women in a difficult spot. A lot of women don't know they're necessarily pregnant by 10-12 week timeline,” said Leding.

The amended bill requires abdominal ultra sounds to detect a heartbeat. Opponents argue the bill is unconstitutional.

“I really feel like we're getting in the way of doctors and their patients,” said Leding. “I know the governor has expressed his concerns as has our attorney general as to the constitutionality of these bills.”

Supporters argue case law says otherwise.

“I'm quite comfortable if we have to have a challenge this is a good law to put up,” said Clemmer.

Aaron Sadler, spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this statement:

“We have briefed the sponsors and leadership on our constitutional analyses and litigation strategies. We expect the Legislature to pass many of these bills this session, and we will prepare for the litigation that will result.”

Both Democrats and Republicans believe the amended bill will pass in the House. If the bill passes in the House, it then goes to the Senate. If state senators approve the changes, the bill goes to the governor’s desk for approval.