"It's not a surprise. Given the opportunity to save lives of unborn children, this governor has always chosen this session to say, 'No'," Sen. Jason Rapert, the Republican from Conway who proposed the 12-week ban, told reporters. "I'm disappointed for all of the unborn children that could have been saved in this bill, but I have faith that the 70 percent of the Legislature that voted to pass the bill will be there to override this veto."
The 12-week measure includes exemptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and highly lethal fetal disorders. The 20-week measure, based on the disputed notion that fetuses can feel pain, does not include exemptions for fetal disorders.
Beebe had previously said he found the 12-week ban even more problematic than the 20-week one. He wouldn't say whether rejecting the 12-week ban was an easier decision.
"Both of them are constitutional issues. I don't know if you'd characterize one as easier than the other," Beebetold reporters. "It becomes a question of what is the constitutionality of the bill."
In both veto letters, he cited the potential cost of fighting litigation against the bans. Beebe said he did not plan on reaching out to lawmakers in the House or Senate to ask them to uphold his veto.
No Senate Democrats voted to override Beebe's veto of the 20-week measure last week, and only two of the 48 House Democrats supported the override.
However, the top Democrat in the House said he expected fewer Democrats to sustain Beebe's veto this time around.
"I've heard from some members who've gone back home since the vote on the veto override last week and have felt quite a bit of pressure from their constituents," said Fayetteville Rep. Greg Leding. "We pushed as hard as we could last time and came up short, and I don't expect to see that kind of effort this time."