Arkansas Republicans still deny that the law restricts women’s abortion rights, although it places the ban well before a fetus reaches viability. State Rep. Ann Clemmer (R), one of 56 representatives who voted to override, told radio station KUAR that the 12-week abortion ban does not affect women’s choice “at all”:
“I really believe that we are not eliminating choice at all. We’re just saying after 12 weeks, the choice is over. You have a choice for the first 12 weeks. That’s almost three months. We’re talking the second trimester here — we’re talking about second trimester. abortions.”
Watch it, courtesty of KUAR:
Actually, Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff notes that Arkansas’ measure would ban roughly one in every 10 abortions in the state. A slew of states already ban abortions after 20 weeks, but Arkansas goes much further in restricting women’s rights despite having no scientific grounding for banning legal abortion services a full two months earlier.
Aside from Clemmer’s diminishing of the consequences of an outright 12-week abortion ban, the law itself is clearly unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade guarantees women’s right to a legal abortion until viability, which is generally 24 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, a federal judge determined Idaho’s ban on late-term abortions was unconstitutional on the same day Arkansas voted to override Beebe’s veto. According to the decision, Idaho put “an absolute obstacle in the path of women seeking such abortions.”