House Passes Slate of Abortion Measures
—Approved a bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Goes to Senate. (see below for more) —Approved a bill to require women seeking an abortion because of lethal fetal anomalies to be advised about the availability of perinatal hospice services. Goes to Senate. — Approved a bill to extend the waiting period before abortions from 24 to 48 hours. Goes to Senate. (see below for more) —Approved a bill to require parents to present a birth certificate when giving parental consent for their daughter to have an abortion. Goes to Senate. The Alabama House of Representatives has voted to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Representatives approved the bill Tuesday night by a 73-29 vote. If the legislation wins approval in the Senate, it would tie Alabama with North Dakota as having the most stringent abortion restriction in the country. Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Indian Springs said the bill is needed to protect unborn life. Opponents said it is unconstitutional and will be stopped by the courts. North Dakota approved a similar law last year, but a federal judge put it on hold Proponents of heartbeat laws have said they hope to eventually challenge the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Meanwhile the House also voted to extend the required waiting period before an abortion from 24 to 48 hours. Representatives approved the bill Tuesday by a 76-23 vote. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate. Republican Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle says the additional time would give a woman the opportunity to change her mind about getting an abortion. Democratic Rep. Darrio Melton of Selma says, while he's against abortion, women could make their own decisions without state interference. Alabama currently requires women to receive information, either in person or through the mail, about abortion alternatives and possible adverse outcomes 24 hours prior to an abortion.