Jason Rapert Changing His 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 7:11 am  

Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway.

Bettina Brownstein, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, said the change to Rapert's bill wouldn't solve the legal problems created by banning abortions that early.

"Twelve weeks is not going to pass constitutional muster," Brownstein said. "Twelve weeks is still going to ban a large percentage of abortions."

Burris said, however, he's not worried about the threat of lawsuits.

"The threat of litigation is not a reason to not pass a bill," Burris said.

Rapert said he's confident the measure will be approved by the House panel. Democrats control 11 of the 20 seats on the committee.

"I think it'll be a better bill and I think it's still good because it's still better than the situation we have now," Rapert said.

The changes to Rapert's legislation come a day after the House approved two other abortion restrictions. One would ban abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and the other would prohibit insurers participating in the exchange created under the federal health care law from covering abortions. Both are now pending before a Senate committee.

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