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Sen. Rapert to amend fetal heartbeat bill

by The Associated Press | February 5, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.

— An Arkansas senator proposing to ban most abortions in the state says he's changing his bill to prohibit the procedure only if a fetal heartbeat is detected using an abdominal ultrasound.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway told reporters Tuesday he's amending his "heartbeat" bill to address concerns raised by lawmakers. The legislation originally called for banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, a move that would prohibit them as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Opponents have said the only way to detect a heartbeat that early is by vaginal probe. Rapert said limiting the test to an abdominal ultrasound would ban abortions as early as 10 to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

A House panel earlier Tuesday had tabled Rapert's legislation.

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