- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas legislators didn’t raise any objections Friday to a set of rules enforcing a state law approved last year banning most abortion 20 months into a woman’s pregnancy.

With no discussion or questions, members of the House and Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committees reviewed the changes to the rules for abortion facilities that incorporate the 20-week ban. The state Board of Health is set to vote on the rules in April.

The ban has been in effect since it was approved last year by the Legislature, and state health officials said the rules mirror the language in that legislation. The Republican-led Legislature enacted the ban, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

“We didn’t put any more requirements on them than was required by law,” said Robert Brech, the Health Department’s chief financial officer “Really, we were just making it consistent with the state law.”

The low-key review of the rules contrasted with the contentious debate over abortion during last year’s session, when lawmakers approved two of the strictest prohibitions in the country. In addition to the 20-week ban, Republicans also overrode Beebe’s veto of a measure banning most abortions at 12 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy

That measure has been blocked from being enforced while a federal judge considers a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

“Those discussions have gone on and on and on, and at this point I think the rule implementation is just kind of secondary to that,” said Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, who sponsored the 20-week ban in last year’s session.

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