The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to extending the waiting period for an abortion in the state.
The Senate Health Committee voted 7-1 Wednesday to approve a bill that extends the waiting time from 24 hours to 48 hours after a woman receives information from an abortion clinic about the procedure and associated risks. Republicans senators cast the yes votes, and Democratic Sen. Billy Beasley cast the lone nay vote.
An Alabama legislative committee has voted to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The House Health Committee approved the fetal heartbeat bill Tuesday. Both sides of the abortion debate agree the proposal would ban most abortions if it becomes law. They also agreed the proposal will be destined for a court fight if given final approval.
North Dakota approved similar legislation, but a federal judge put the law on hold while a legal challenge plays out in court.
Alabama's new law setting stricter requirements for abortion doctors likely won't be enforced this year.
ACLU and Planned Parenthood attorneys challenging the law and state attorneys defending the law told a federal judge Friday that they want the law kept on hold until March 24, 2014, while they develop their cases. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson indicated he would go along with the timeline proposed by both sides.
Alabama's governor has signed into law stricter abortion clinic regulations.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill Tuesday at the Capitol while surrounded by legislators who supported it.
The new law requires clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to local hospitals. Bentley, who is a physician, said a doctor who can't get admitting privileges from a hospital probably ought not to be practicing in the state.
The bill also sets stricter building standards for abortion clinics, and it gives them a couple of months to comply.
Alabama's governor says he will sign tougher abortion clinic regulations if the state Senate approves them.
Gov. Robert Bentley spoke Tuesday at a rally organized by abortion opponents in Montgomery. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard also attended the rally.
The clinic regulatory bill has passed the House and is scheduled for a vote Wednesday in the Senate Health Committee. Committee Chairman Greg Reed says he expects the committee to approve the bill and send it to the Senate.