LITTLE ROCK — A House panel has advanced legislation that would ban most abortions in Arkansas if a fetal heartbeat is detected 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on Thursday endorsed by a voice vote the reworked version of the "heartbeat" abortion ban, sending it to the full House for consideration. The measure would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected after 12 weeks using an abdominal ultrasound.
An earlier version of the bill approved by the Senate would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and opponents said the only way to detect a heartbeat at that point is through a vaginal probe. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe said earlier Thursday he still believes the bill is unconstitutional.