Alabama lawmaker proposes bill banning abortions after fetal heartbeat detected
© WikiMedia (Carol M. Highsmith)

Alabama lawmaker proposes bill banning abortions after fetal heartbeat detected

[JURIST] Alabama state representative Teri Collins [official website] has proposed a bill [HB 405] to abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. If approved, opponents argue the bill could ban most abortions. Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] Southeast has called the bill “unreasonable, dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional,” and noted that it would be the most restrictive abortion law in the country if passed. Alabama law currently bans abortions 20 weeks or more into a pregnancy, but fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The Alabama House of Representatives approved similar legislation last year, but it did not get a vote in the Alabama Senate. Prospects are uncertain for passage this year.

Abortion continues to be a hotly debated legal issue throughout the US, with a number of states proposing laws to limit reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. This week Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] on Tuesday signed a bill [press release] that bans all forms of dismemberment abortion unless necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. Earlier this month Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel appealed [JURIST report] a federal court ruling that struck down a law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. In March Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers in the state to tell women they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion and also bars women from buying any health care plan through the federal marketplace that includes coverage for abortions. Also in March the West Virginia Legislature overrode [JURIST report] the governor’s veto, passing a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks.