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Arkansas abortion law challenged

Two advocacy groups filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas [official website] Tuesday challenging the Human Heartbeat Protection Act [Act 301, PDF; materials]. The Human Heartbeat Protection Act is an Arkansas law banning most abortions at the twelfth week of pregnancy, if a heartbeat is detected. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy websites] filed the lawsuit on behalf of two Arkansas doctors who provide abortions in the state. The complaint states that the new Arkansas law is "a violation of over 40 years of settled United States Supreme Court precedent" and argues that the new Arkansas law contradicts the holding of Roe v. Wade [opinion]. The Human Heartbeat Protection Act is set to take effect on July 18.

Much activity has occurred involving the abortion states laws in Arkansas in the preceding few months. In March, the Arkansas legislature voted to override [JURIST report] Governor Mike Beebe's veto of the Human Heartbeat Protection Act. In February, the Arkansas Senate also voted to override a veto [JURIST report] of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act [HB 1037, PDF], which blocks abortions after 20 weeks.

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