Communications Department

Arkansas General Assembly Overrides Beebe Veto

Feb 28, 2013 | 2013 Press Releases

Arkansas Becomes 8th State to Protect Pain-Capable Unborn Children

WASHINGTON – Today, the Arkansas State Senate joined the State House in overriding Governor Mike Beebe’s veto earlier this week of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The vote was carried 19-14 in the State Senate, and 53-28 in the State House.

“Unborn children jerk away from painful stimuli, their stress hormones increase, and they require anesthesia before any fetal surgery. With today’s override of the Governor’s veto, Arkansas has become the eighth state to pass legislation protecting unborn children capable of feeling pain from the violence of abortion,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for National Right to Life. “We commend Representative Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) for his leadership and dedication to protecting mothers and their unborn children in the state.”

The Arkansas law is based on the model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, drafted by the National Right to Life Committee’s state legislation department, which protects the lives of unborn children at a point that compelling medical evidence demonstrates that they are capable of feeling pain.

A major legislative priority of the National Right to Life Committee, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act first made headlines in 2010 when the Nebraska legislature became the first to enact the bill into law. The legislation breaks new ground in the fight to protect mothers and their unborn children by acknowledging the large body of scientific evidence showing that unborn children are capable of feeling excruciating pain by at least 20 weeks after fertilization and recognizing that states have compelling interest to protect these pain-capable unborn children. Further documentation and links to the scientific studies can be found at:

In addition to Nebraska and Arkansas the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been enacted in six other states.

“Basic compassion for human life demands that this legislation be enacted all over the country,” added Balch. “We applaud the Arkansas General Assembly for doing the right thing for defenseless unborn children.”

Founded in 1968, National Right to Life, the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.