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Ala. Lawmaker Might Try Again on 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban Measure

January 30, 2015 — Alabama Rep. Terri Collins (R) is considering introducing legislation similar to a bill (HB 490) she proposed last year that would have banned most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, the Florence Times Daily reports.

Previous Legislation

Last year's bill passed the state House but did not advance in the state Senate. Under the bill, physicians would have been required to check for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion. The measure would have made it a felony to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat were detectable, which is generally between about six to eight weeks of pregnancy. Current state law prohibits abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Potential New Legislation

The state's legislative session begins on March 3. Collins indicated that this year's measure, if she decides to introduce it, might have different language.

Collins said, "We're trying to see what the courts have said and maybe work out a better approach." She added, "I've begun discussing it with some people. Sometimes you can change the language ... and go at it another way."

Planned Parenthood Southeast Vice President of Public Policy Nikema Williams noted that some women are not aware they are pregnant after six to eight weeks. She added, "I think what we've seen so far in Alabama when they pass unconstitutional legislation, the courts have sided with the Constitution" (Sell, Florence Times Daily, 1/27).