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.