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Arkansas Adopts Country’s Most Restrictive Abortion Law

Sen. Jason Rapert
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Arkansas now has the nation's most restrictive abortion law – a near-ban on the procedure from the 12th week of pregnancy – unless a lawsuit or court action intervenes before it takes effect this summer.

Lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Legislature defied Gov. Mike Beebe, overriding the Democrat's veto. The House voted 56-33 on Wednesday to override Beebe's veto, a day after the Senate voted to do the same.

The votes come less than a week after the Legislature overrode a veto of a separate bill banning most abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy. That bill took effect immediately after the final override vote, whereas the 12-week ban won't take effect until this summer.

Abortion rights proponents have said they'll sue to block the 12-week ban from taking effect. Beebe warned lawmakers that both measures would end up wasting taxpayers' money with the state defending them in court, where, he said, they are likely to fail.

The measures' supporters, who expected court challenges, were undaunted.

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