‘Heartbeat’ bill aims to protect unborn children in Alabama

heart-babyThis week in Alabama, four pro-life bills are having public hearings, and one of them could profoundly affect abortions in the state.

House Bill 490, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat Act,” would eliminate many abortions in the state. The bill says:

Fetal Heartbeat Act, prohibits physician from performing abortion without first determining fetal heartbeat, physician who does not make determination or who performs abortion when heartbeat detected is guilty of Class C felony.

The bill was read last week and referred to the House of Representatives Committee on Health. HB 490 is sponsored by pro-life  Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Pelham), who made news last year by sponsoring the law which required physicians to have admitting privileges at hospitals if they performed abortions. HB 490 would make abortion more limited, since a heartbeat can be detected at about 7-8 weeks, before many abortions are often performed.

McClurkin says:

This bill specifically deals with killing a person with a heartbeat. We wouldn’t kill a person in a hospital with a heartbeat, we just wouldn’t. It is just simply a bill that will require abortionists to check for the heartbeat, let the mother hear the heartbeat, and then, if there is a heartbeat, he cannot do the abortion.

The Times-Daily reports that “[t]he bill would require that the physician document the procedure used to determine a heartbeat. Not determining the presence of a heartbeat or performing an abortion when a heartbeat has been determined will be a Class C felony, according to the legislation, unless the abortion was medically necessary because the woman’s life or health were at risk.”

The prosecution for this felony, however, would be for physicians defying the law, not the woman having the abortion.

In addition to McClurkin’s bill, three other pro-life bills will be heard Wednesday morning in public hearings, including one sponsored by Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) that would change the waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 48 hours.

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