LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Arkansas Legislature has spoken; the senate and the house have now voted to override Governor Beebe's veto on certain abortions.
Thursday morning's senate vote took a matter of minutes and split down party lines, and Arkansas will now join seven other states in banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The controversial decision still leaves many questions about the new law.
In a 19 to 14 split, The Arkansas Senate voted to override Governor Beebe's veto of a bill banning most 20-week abortions. The law goes into effect immediately and is based on the contested claim that fetuses can feel pain by the 20th week of pregnancy.
In his veto statement, Governor Beebe said the law violates the U.S. Constitution and would cost taxpayers money through legal challenges.
Sponsor Representative Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, said Thursday's vote will protect unborn children in the state, while Democratic Minority Leader Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, feels the override is disrespectful.
"This is a great day. This has been a long-time coming," Mayberry exclaimed. "This is a good bill. This is a constitutional bill, and more than anything, it's a bill that's going to protect some babies' lives. That's the best part of it all."
"Disappointed, but not necessarily surprised. But, I do feel that the governor having the legislative experience that he has, being an attorney himself, felt that this bill was unconstitutional and was trying to save the state from lengthy and costly lawsuits," Leding explained.
The law provides exceptions only in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother's life. It does not include an exemption for any lethal fetal disorders.
Arkansas senators also voted to approve a ban on most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound. The 12-week abortion ban bill is expected to make it to Governor Beebe's desk tomorrow.