|Updated: 2/27 10:46 am
||Published: 2/26 11:06 pm
Governor Mike Beebe used his veto power to stop a controversial abortion bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.
With his veto the governor is upholding the same Supreme Court precedent set with Roe vs. Wade that gives a woman until viability or roughly 24 weeks to terminate a pregnancy. Still state lawmakers are still pushing to change that.
"I don't know if I can say it any more eloquently than I did in the veto message and that is it's unconstitutional," Beebe said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters outside his conference room, he made it clear why he's against House Bill 1037.
"One of the ramifications is the potential litigation and the cost to the state when you have a bill such as that, that's one of the things I set out in the veto message," he says.
The purpose of the bill would stop women from being able to legally terminate pregnancy after 20 weeks barring rape, incest or serious health concerns.
Experts say the bill would also serve another purpose.
"What is underlying this bill and others in other states is it's an attempt to get the issue of abortion in courts with a fresh set of arguments against Roe vs. Wade," says John DiPippa, Dean Emeritus and public policy professor at Bowen School of Law.
For now, the governor's veto stands, but the legislature only needs a simple majority more than 50 percent, to overrule him. If that happens, DiPippa says the litigation he's trying to avoid would be inevitable.
"If it goes into effect no doubt it will be in court and the state would be obligated to defend it he best it can," says DiPippa.
And the sponsor of this bill, Representative Andy Mayberry says he plans to ask the general assembly to overrule the governor.
If that happens, the bill would be made into law here.