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US judge strikes state's 12-week abortion ban

US judge strikes down state's ban on 12-week abortion ban; says viability still key

US judge strikes state's 12-week abortion ban

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- A federal judge has struck down the state of Arkansas' attempt to ban most abortions beginning 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, saying viability, not a heartbeat, remains the key factor in determining whether abortions should be allowed.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last year had stopped enforcement of the law. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed it over Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's objections. The judge made her decision final Friday.

Wright said the 12-week ban undermined U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have said a fetus' ability to live outside the womb should be the controlling factor on whether abortions may occur.

She left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.