Organizations Threaten Federal Court on Abortion Laws

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Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe made his first public comments on a new abortion law since his veto of it was overridden.

"My concern going forward is they are unconstitutional. You put your hand on the bible and swear to the constitution. It should mean something," Gov. Beebe said.

History was made in the Arkansas Legislature this week. Abortions in the state will be illegal for women who are 12 weeks pregnant, or further along. This legislation is the strictest in the country on the already highly-debated subject.

It's called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, and it's the only law in the country to ban almost all abortions after 12 weeks. 12 weeks is the point in which a fetal heartbeat can be detected by an abdominal ultrasound.

Last week, the Arkansas legislature overrode Governor Beebe's veto of a bill to ban abortions at 20 weeks. Even before this bill there was opposition.

Six other states have passed legislation that would restrict abortions at 20 weeks.

NARAL, Pro-Choice America said they will challenge this.

"Anti-trust lawmakers in the states think that there's an opportunity to get the Supreme Court to reopen the Roe V. Wade decision and maybe to make abortion illegal in some or maybe even all cases so they are trying multiple fronts," Donna Crane, NARAL's national policy director said.

State Senator Jason Rapert said the law is an opportunity for the courts to develop a more human abortion policy.

"I believe that when there is heartbeat, there is life, and innocent life is something that should be protected," Sen. Rapert said.

Rita Sklar is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Arkansas. She said the ACLU will fight.

"We're going to federal court. We'll start in federal district court, and we should be ready to go in a couple of weeks," Sklar said.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said he doesn't think the law will reach the Supreme Court.

"There would have to be some really novel question for either of these to go the supreme court and at this point I don't think there are any novel questions," McDaniel said.

The veto to override Governor Beebe's veto was not strictly along party lines. Six Democrats joined with Republicans to override the Governor's veto.

The 20 week ban on abortions in Arkansas has already been put into effect. The 12 week ban won't go into effect until this summer.