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Even with changes, Ark. proposes strictest abortion law in nation

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Jason RapertAn Arkansas lawmaker said Tuesday that he would ease his proposed ban on most abortions in the state so the procedure could still be performed until a heartbeat is detected using an abdominal ultrasound.

Even with the change, state Sen. Jason Rapert's proposal would likely be the strictest abortion ban in the nation, prohibiting the procedure as early as 10 to 12 weeks into pregnancy. Rapert had original proposed a ban that could have applied as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, and North Dakota lawmakers are considering similar legislation.

Rapert said he planned to change the legislation to address concerns raised by other lawmakers after a House panel voted to delay consideration of the proposed ban. The Senate passed the abortion ban last week.

Opponents have said the only way to detect a heartbeat as early as six weeks is by using a vaginal probe. Rapert's proposal includes exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.


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