(Photo: Dustin Wilson, KTHV)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Change at least appears to be around the corner for Arkansas Abortion law. Two bills passed the house Thursday, and one will go to the governor's office for his decision.
Despite both House Bill 1037 and Senate Bill 134 passing, the debate continues. Pro-life advocates push to save what they call innocent lives while pro-choice leaders argue both these bills are unconstitutional.
Barely a minute passed before a majority of the Arkansas House agreed to a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks. This was a great way to start the meeting for Sponsor Andy Mayberry.
"It's a little overwhelming in a positive way," said Mayberry, a republican from Hensley.
But, Representative Patti Julian isn't as pleased as the sponsor.
"If we pass this bill we take choices away from women in this state," says Julian, a democrat from North Little Rock.
The house also agreed to support Senate Bill 134 which will ban abortions at the detection of a heartbeat. Despite criticism from other lawmakers surrounding the constitutionality, co-sponsor Ann Clemmer stands behind the bill.
"Roe v. Wade is 40 years old. Medical science has moved quite a bit and Roe v. Wade simply protected a woman's choice in the first trimester. We're at that mark of 12 weeks which is approximate first trimester," said Clemmer, a republican from Benton.
Even pro-life lawmakers took issue with Senate Bill 134.
"We have to trust a woman to make the decision she feels is right for her," said John Edwards, a democrat from Little Rock.
Both bills have exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. As for House Bill 1037, Governor Beebe said again Thursday he has constitutional concerns, but declined to say whether he would veto it.
Senate Bill 137 will go back to the senate now for approval.