Supreme Court denies revival of Arkansas abortion law

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday rejected an Arkansas appeal to revive an old abortion law that banned abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. After the injunction was issued, Arkansas appealed and the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] affirmed [text, PDF] in May 2015. The law in question was the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act [text, PDF], and its goal was to prevent abortions after a heartbeat was detectable. The Supreme Court said that historically the rule has been to prevent abortion before viability, not the detection of the heartbeat, and it was not ready to deviate from this. The Supreme Court is set to hear a new case, Whole Woman's Health v. Cole [SCOTUSblog info], in March dealing with abortion.

Abortion waiting periods and reproductive rights issues [JURIST backgrounder] have been heated topics throughout the US. In May 2015 Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin [official website] signed House Bill 1409 [bill information] into law extending the mandatory [JURIST report] waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. In April 2015 Alabama state representative Terri Collins [official website] proposed a bill to ban abortion [JURIST report] once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Also in April 2015 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] signed a bill [press release] that bans all forms of dismemberment abortion unless necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. In March 2015 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey [official website] signed a bill [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers in the state to tell women that they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, in addition to barring women from buying any healthcare plan through the federal marketplace that includes coverage for abortions. Also in March 2015 the West Virginia Legislature overrode [JURIST report] the state governor's veto, passing a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks.

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