5-March-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Major abortion restrictions advance in Arkansas

The Arkansas state senate has passed a "heartbeat" bill barring abortion after 12 weeks and overrode a governor's veto on another bill that restricts late-term abortions due to unborn children being able to feel pain.

"The Arkansas legislature has voted to end the killing of unborn children at an age when they are capable of experiencing excruciating pain at the hands of abortionists," Arkansas Right to Life executive director Rose Mimms told National Right to Life News Today.

The fetal pain legislation bars abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother's life.

Mary Spaulding Balch, the National Right to Life Committee's director of state legislation, said Feb. 28 that the legislature has protected "unborn children capable of feeling pain from the violence of abortion."

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 19-14 to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of the legislation, the Associated Press reports.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which tends to take pro-abortion rights positions, has said there is no legitimate scientific information backing the belief that an unborn child feels pain.

However, Bauch said that unborn children "jerk away from painful stimuli," show an increase in stress hormones, and require anesthesia before any fetal surgery.

"Basic compassion for human life demands that this legislation be enacted all over the country," Balch said.

Gov. Beebe said he vetoed the law because he thinks it contradicts the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which struck down most abortion restrictions. The governor said the state will waste money trying to defend it. Similar laws are in place in seven other states.

The state Senate also passed a "heartbeat" bill that outlaws most abortions 12 weeks or more into a pregnancy by a bipartisan vote of 26-8. Backers of the bill said an unborn baby deserves legal protections when his or her heartbeat can be detected during an ultrasound.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has said it will challenge the bills if they become law.

Patrick Gallaher, executive director of Catholic Charities of Arkansas and a lobbyist for the Diocese of Little Rock, told the Arkansas Catholic newspaper that a legal fight could be counterproductive.

State law allows the winning party in a lawsuit to ask the court to cover its legal expenses.

"If the state were to lose it would be very costly and may actually wind up bankrolling pro-abortion well into the future," Gallaher said.

"Perhaps more damaging would be the effect such a decision would have on public opinion. All the public would hear is abortion is upheld and the court said it is okay to kill babies in the state of Arkansas."

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=7161#ixzz2MgCiG0dW

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