Mike Beebe Arkansas Governor Upholds Constitution, Avoids Wasting Funds

 Mike Beebe Arkansas Governor Upholds Constitution, Avoids Wasting FundsArkansas Governor Upholds Constitution, Avoids Wasting Funds

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has decided to veto a 20-week abortion bill sent to his desk from the legislature.  The Arkansas House passed the bill Friday by a vote of 80-10, and sent it to the governor to sign or veto.  He chose the latter.

Bill sponsor Representative Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) cited data that less than 2 percent of abortions occur that late, before he added exceptions for the health or life of the mother, rape and incest.  Earlier this month Governor Beebe expressed concerns that the bill was unconstitutional.

A “12 week anti-abortion bill”, forbidding an abortion after a heartbeat is detected will reach the governor’s desk later this week.  Bill sponsor Jason Rapert claims the bill is within the framework of the Constitution, Beebe says it is not.

Some of the governor’s statements as to why he vetoed the bill:

“..because it would impose a ban on a woman’s right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion before viability, House Bill 1037, if it became law, would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent. When I was sworn in as Governor I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously.”

“Second, the adoption of unconstitutional laws can be very costly to the taxpayers of our State. It has been suggested that outside groups or others might represent the State for free in any litigation challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 1037, but even if that were to happen, that would only lessen the State’s own litigation costs.”

“In the last case in which the constitutionality of an Arkansas abortion statute was challenged, Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Jegley, the State was ordered to pay the prevailing plaintiffs and their attorneys nearly $119,000 for work in the trial court, and an additional $28,900 for work on the State’s unsuccessful appeal.”

While I do not know the governor’s personal position on abortion, I do know he did not act for political expediency, but upheld the law.  He disregarded the emotions of the issue and acted upon logic.

Whether he meant to or not, he definitely scored points with the growing numbers of politically active women in both his state, and the country.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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