Alabama House approves fetal heartbeat bill

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Gavel (KSN File Photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama House of Representatives has approved several abortion restrictions, including one that bans them once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin said Tuesday that a heartbeat is universally accepted as an indication of life.

A heartbeat can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

If it wins approval, the legislation that moves next to the Senate would tie Alabama with North Dakota as having the most stringent abortion law in the country. It is a direct challenge to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable. Opponents called the bill blatantly unconstitutional.

North Dakota approved a similar law last year, but a federal judge put it on hold while the legal challenge plays out in court.

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