KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Arkansas’ Abortion Ban Energizes Backers Of Fetal Heartbeat Laws

That state's adoption of the nation's strictest abortion ban -- prohibiting abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat is usually found -- is spurring advocates to push similar legislation in Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, North Dakota and Wyoming. Legal scholars say such laws have little chance of withstanding federal court scrutiny.

The New York Times: Arkansas's Abortion Ban And One Man's Strong Will
The adoption by Arkansas last week of the country's strictest abortion ban -- at 12 weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat is typically detected -- gave a new jolt of energy to a loose band of abortion foes who are pushing similar measures in several states. Fetal heartbeat laws are already under consideration by legislatures in Ohio, Kansas and North Dakota, and have a good chance of passage in the coming year, their proponents believe, even though legal experts say they have little chance of surviving in federal courts (Eckholm 3/11).

Fox News: Anti-Abortion Law Makes Arkansas Ground Zero In Intensifying National Debate
Arkansas has become ground zero in the battle over abortion rights and limitations in the country. Just last week, lawmakers overrode Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a law that will ban most abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy. Under the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which is scheduled to go into effect later this summer, women seeking an abortion who are at least 12 weeks pregnant will be required to undergo an ultrasound. If a heartbeat is detected, the abortion would not be permitted. The law includes jail time and fines for doctors who violate the law but no penalties for women who seek or undergo an illegal abortion (Bream, 3/11).

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