(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Arkansas state legislators voted to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a bill that will ban abortions in the state at 20 weeks, unless the woman is a victim of rape, incest or her life is at risk due to a medical emergency.
On Wednesday, the override passed the House with 53 votes, which included all 51 Republicans and two Democrats. The bill then moved to the Senate floor on Thursday, where it received 19 Republican votes to complete the override.
In Arkansas, legislators can override a governor's veto by a simple majority, which is 51 votes in the House and 18 votes in the Senate. During this legislative session, Republicans have a slight majority in the House, holding 51 of the 100 seats, and in the Senate, where they hold 21 of the 35 seats.
Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), the sponsor of HB 1037, "an act to create the pain-capable unborn child protection act and to declare an emergency," told The Christian Post that he's happy about the outcome.
"I am certainly pleased that the Arkansas General Assembly chose to override the veto of this life-preserving bill that reflects the pro-life values of the people of this state," Mayberry said. "This is a good law that I believe will hold up under constitutional and judicial scrutiny. Most importantly, it will save innocent babies who are capable of feeling pain from suffering a horrific, painful death."
Mayberry told CP that under the current Arkansas law, abortions can be performed up-to 25 weeks. He also added that an abortion can be performed up-to 40 weeks, if a doctor says that a baby is not viable, or if the mother faces a medical emergency.
Beebe, who vetoed HB 1037 earlier this week, said in his veto letter that he's concerned about legal costs the state could incur if an outside organization decides to challenge the constitutionality of the bill.
"In the last case in which the constitutionality of an Arkansas abortion statute was challenged, Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Jegley (1999), the state was ordered to pay the prevailing plaintiffs and their attorneys nearly $119,000 for work in the trial court, and an additional $28,900 for work on the state's unsuccessful appeal," said Beebe.
According to Mayberry, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has claimed that they will challenge the law.
"I'm not sure what they would gain," said Mayberry who added that the Arkansas law is based on similar legislation that passed in Nebraska and has not been challenged since it became law in October 2010.