US Supreme Court Denies Petition To Revisit Arkansas’ 12-Week Abortion Ban

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WASHINGTON D.C. (KFSM) — On Tuesday (Jan. 19), the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to revisit a controversial bill that would ban abortions in Arkansas at 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill, dubbed Arkansas’ Human Heartbeat Protection Act, was originally enacted in March 2013 after the state legislature overrode a veto on the bill by then-Governor Mike Beebe. The bill banned abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy if doctors could detect a fetal heartbeat.

Shortly after, a U.S. District Court judge ordered an injunction blocking the bill in May 2013, over concerns that the bill interfered with the ruling in Roe Vs. Wade, which banned abortions only after 22-24 weeks of pregnancy — when the fetus could survive outside of the womb.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a request to have the Human Heartbeat Protection Act upheld as constitutional in September 2015.

“As a strong defender of all human life, we want to make sure that Arkansas law is defended,” Rutledge told THV11. “Beyond my duty, I firmly believe that the state has a profound interest in protecting the lives of the unborn, which is exactly what this law does.”