Arkansas House overrides governor’s veto of 20 week abortion ban


In Arkansas, the legislature is working towards protecting the unborn through the passage of a bill outlawing most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.  This “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” is designed to prevent abortions after the time in the development of an unborn child when he or she can feel pain. According to the legislative findings in the bill:

After twenty (20) weeks after fertilization, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, for example, by recoiling.

It is the purpose of the state to assert a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of felling pain…

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe chose Tuesday to veto this law. He believes that this law would go against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade:

Because it would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion before viability, House Bill 1037, if it became law, would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent…. When I was sworn in as governor I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously.

The House, however, feels differently and on Wednesday voted 53-28 to override the governor’s veto. The Senate is expected to vote Thursday and could override the veto with a simple majority of the votes.

The Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee also voted Wednesday to send a different bill to the full Senate – a bill that would ban most abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.

  • While the governor claims to be motivated by preserving the Supreme Court precedent, I’ve always wondered how that precedent avoids flying in the face of that commonly-quoted phrase, “LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” found in the US Declaration of Independence. From that phrase should we not arrive at the conclusion that we are all due the inalienable right to life? Logic dictates so since inalienable rights is defined as natural rights not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government.