Arkansas State Senate Passes Abortion Ban, Sponsor Introduces Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert succeeded in banning early-term abortions in his state on Wednesday.

But why stop there?

The Arkansas General Assembly enacted the nation's most restrictive abortion law on Wednesday, overriding Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto and banning abortions when a woman has been pregnant for more than 12 weeks and an abdominal ultrasound shows the fetus has a heartbeat. Abortion-rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, quickly denounced the law. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Arkansas ACLU plan to file a lawsuit, seeking to overturn it.

But just a few hours after his bill passed, Rapert - the lead sponsor of the 12-week abortion ban - -introduced another bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

The state Senate enacted its abortion ban at 2:11 p.m. CSTl on Wednesday, according to the General Assembly website. Just after 4:40 p.m., Rapert introduced a bill to ban state funding for groups that perform "abortions or abortion referrals … Contracts with a person or entity that performs abortions or abortion referrals; or Is an affiliate of a person or entity that performs abortions or abortion referrals."

Abortion-rights opponents have long held that no public money, state or federal, should be awarded to Planned Parenthood. The group is required to fund its abortion services separately from federal money provided for its other services, under the longstanding ban on federal funding for abortions.

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