May 29, 2014 — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) on Tuesday urged a federal appeals court to uphold a state law (Act 301) banning abortion at 12 weeks, arguing that it protects women, fetuses and medical professionals, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/27).
The law prohibits abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat is detectable, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest, to save a woman's life or when the fetus has a fatal disorder. A federal judge overturned the law earlier this year, ruling that restricting abortion based on fetal heartbeat rather than on fetal viability is unconstitutional (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/17).
McDaniel filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to overturn the judge's earlier ruling.
He wrote that the law "regulates certain pre-viability abortions without placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking a pre-viability abortion, and in furtherance of the state's legitimate interests in protecting the human life of the fetus, protecting the life and health of the pregnant woman, and protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession."
McDaniel also stated that Arkansas does not wish to present oral arguments before the appeals panel (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/27).