Fetal heartbeat bill could ban most abortions in Alabama - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Fetal heartbeat bill could ban most abortions in Alabama

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The State House Health Committee has passed a bill that could ban most abortions in Alabama.

This week, the committee approved a bill that prevents doctors from performing an abortion if a heartbeat is detected in a fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Currently, the state allows abortions up to 20 weeks.

If the fetal heartbeat law passes in Alabama, the sound could take the option of an abortion off the table for most women. It's encouraging news for pro-life groups like Sav-A-Life.

It's encouraging news for pro-life groups.

"It's exciting for an organization like us," said Lisa Hogan, executive director of Sav-A-Life in Vestavia. "A beating heart is a sign of life and there's no denying that."

Pro-choice advocates, however, have concerns.

"At six weeks of pregnancy there's just so much and so many reasons that a woman and her doctor may choose to terminate the pregnancy and taking that option away is going to endanger the lives of many women," said Tori Smith with the West Alabama National Organization for Women.

Health concerns aside, Smith says the bill is unconstitutional.

"You can't be forced to use your body to support somebody else's," Smith says.

Hogan with Sav-A-Life disagrees.

"Truly Roe v. Wade was actually all about a woman's choice. That doesn't change. This law doesn't change that at all. It's just a matter of educating about what your choices are," she explained.

One thing both women can agree on: Because the first signs of pregnancy are often not seen until the seventh or eighth week of pregnancy, the fetal heartbeat law would virtually eliminate abortion in Alabama.

If the bill passes in Alabama, it could face legal trouble. North Dakota passed similar legislation, but it’s currently being held up in federal court.

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