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Arkansas Senate overrides veto of 12-week abortion ban

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Senate voted Tuesday to override Governor Mike Beebe’s veto of legislation that would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward and give the state the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

There was no debate before the 20-14 vote. Beebe told legislators in his letter explaining his veto Monday that he believes the proposal is unconstitutional and conflicts with the 1973 US Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

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But the bill’s sponsor said after Tuesday’s vote that he thinks the Democratic governor is wrong.

‘‘That’s not valid. The US Constitution says nothing whatsoever about abortion. This is governed by case law,’’ said state Senator Jason Rapert, a Republican.

The House sponsor of Rapert’s bill said she will ask that chamber to vote on an override Wednesday. Only a simple majority is needed in each chamber to trump a governor’s veto. If the House overrides Beebe’s veto, the 12-week ban would take effect later this year.

Last week, the Republican-controlled Legislature overrode Beebe’s veto of a separate bill outlawing most abortions beginning in the 20th week of pregnancy.

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