Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed an appeal Tuesday with the highest court in the nation to overturn a ruling made by a lower court that said Arkansas' 12-week abortion ban is unconstitutional, the Southwest Times Record reported. The 2013 ban, which was ruled unconstitutional by the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis, is one of the more restrictive abortion bans in the country.
Women are allowed to obtain abortions before the fetus becomes viable, which medical experts today say is at about 23 weeks. After the point of viability, U.S. law allows states to enact regulations on abortion. However, Arkansas banned the procedure at 12 weeks -- well before the point of viability -- and has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of that, Politico reported.
“Arkansas and other states should be allowed to advance their profound interests in defending the life of the unborn, which is exactly what the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act accomplishes,” Rutledge said in a statement to the Southwest Times Record.
The law, which has faced its share of challenges since its inception, was struck down by a veto by then-Gov. Mike Beebe, who said it was unconstitutional. The legislature overrode the veto, but a U.S. District Judge stayed the law because the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law’s legality.
Between 2011 and 2014, states pushed through 231 restrictions on abortions, Bloomberg reported. Judges in some of these states, such as Alabama and Oklahoma, have stayed the laws because of legal challenges made.
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The controversial 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the United States, and the issue has been a heated one since. The court reaffirmed their decision on abortion in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In her petition to the Supreme Court, Rutledge said the current viability standard is outdated and not expressly written in the U.S. Constitution, according to Politico.