Jason Rapert's 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill Tests Mike Beebe, Democrats (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 5:40 pm  

Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway.

Beebe's support for the exchange ban, which would include exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, join a limited list of abortion restrictions he's backed since taking office in 2007. He voiced concerns about similar legislation two years ago that didn't include the exemptions, but that measure died before a House committee that rejected several proposed abortion restrictions that year.

Beebe also has backed placing new regulations on the clinics that offer the abortion pill and a bill mirroring a federal law banning late-term abortions.

But on the heartbeat bill, Beebe is being careful to not rule the legislation out completely.

"I'm opposed to anything that I think is blatantly unconstitutional," Beebe told reporters last week.

The coming days will test whether that warning is enough to keep the measure away from his desk.

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