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Arkansas abortion ban struck down by judge

U.S. judge rules a fetus' viability, not its heartbeat, should determine the legality of an abortion.
By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   March 15, 2014 at 7:04 PM

A U.S. judge struck down part of an Arkansas abortion law that bans most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The law passed last March said that a woman couldn't have an abortion after 12 weeks if the fetus has a heartbeat.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright reasoned the fetus' viability, not its heartbeat, should determine the legality of an abortion, the Los Angeles Times reported. She determined the law was therefor unconstitutional.

Fetus viability is generally considered to be around 22 to 24 weeks.

“The Supreme Court has … stressed that it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability at a specific point in the gestation period,” Wright wrote. "The court finds as a matter of law that the twelve-week abortion ban included in [the law] prohibits pre-viability abortions and thus impermissibly infringes a woman’s Fourteenth Amendment right to elect to terminate a pregnancy before viability."

[Los Angeles Times]
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