LITTLE ROCK An Arkansas Senate panel has advanced legislation that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, a move that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee endorsed the proposal by Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway that would require a test for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed in the state.
Rapert’s proposal would ban abortions if doctors detect a heartbeat.
The bill includes exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
Similar proposals have come up in other states, but have faced complaints that it would violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.