Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Bill Advances Through Legislature

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-A bill that would dramatically curb the number of abortions in Alabama moved toward its final hurdle in the state legislature this week, and could get an up-or-down vote as soon as Wednesday night.

HB 490 would outlaw abortions in Alabama after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which normally happens six to seven weeks after conception. The legislation has already passed the Alabama House by a wide margin, and is eligible for a floor vote in the Senate after being cleared by a committee Tuesday. If passed, it would mark a significant reduction in Alabama's current abortion cutoff line of 20 weeks.

Supporters of the bill said they were optimistic the bill would make it through before the regular legislative session ends Thursday.

"We believe at conception it's a human being, but there's no denying it's a person when their heart is beating," said Christian Coalition of Alabama Executive Director James Henderson. "It wouldn't eliminate abortions. We'd love to see that, but it's a step in the right direction...we look forward to the governor signing it within a week or so."

Pro-abortion groups said the legislation threatened the survival of Huntsville's last remaining abortion clinic, and noted that a similar law already passed in North Dakota was recently put on hold by a federal judge.

"This is not a constitutional law, it will not stand," said abortion advocate Tia Ennis. "Most women are not even aware of the fact that they're pregnant within six weeks, so immediately what you've really done is take away that option."

The bill does make an exception for abortions beyond the detection of a fetal heartbeat if the life of the mother is endangered by her pregnancy. It had not yet come to the Senate floor as of late Wednesday afternoon.


  • Seamus

    Dear reporter, I would appreciate if you would please understand the distinction between a pro-choice advocate and an “abortion advocate”. You will actually see the word CHOICE prominently and obviously displayed. A little explanation must be necessary here. No one advocates abortion; many are working to reduce the numbers of abortions by education and access to birth control, but advocate having the CHOICE of abortion available. Personal CHOICE should be made by the woman, not by the legislature and not by old men acting as if they know “God’s will.”

    • Seamus

      first of all, it’s a choice to believe that “life begins at conception” or to not believe this. To call it a “child” at that point is also a personal choice, although scientifically incorrect.
      secondly, the choice to believe that (or not) belongs to the person who would carry that fetus to term.. and to that person alone. The choices we make for ourselves govern our own lives and have no legal or moral bearing on another adult human being. These beliefs and their personal consequences do not belong to the church or to the legislature or even a “majority” of voters, because beliefs and their consequent actions cannot be legislated.

  • Del

    I am not pro abortion, but I am pro choice. IF a woman really wants to end the pregnancy this law will not change that fact. It will just push them into going into hiding and doing it in dirty clinics like things were done before when abortions were illegal. It is no one’s place to make this choice for a woman. It is her own, and it is something she will have to live with forever. Besides, if a woman didn’t want the baby in the first place, what kind of mother would she be if forced to keep the child.

  • Danielle

    Abortion is one way that population is kept under control. Do people not realize this? This planet is already over crowded! There is no more room for more people, there aren’t enough resources. This is seriously getting out of hand. STOP TRYING TO TAKE AWAY PEOPLE’S RIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This aggravates me straight to my core!

    • D C

      The only RIGHTS being taken away is the right’s of the child to live. You don’t even consider that do you? People have no RIGHT to be kill innocent live for the sole purpose of “I was irresponsible, and now this is inconvenient.”

      • Voldemort

        I’d love yo see your logic applied to the people the government is killing with drones. But hey, they don’t count if their brown and muslim, right?

  • Steve Tate

    I can’t help but notice that all of the “pro choice/pro abortion” folks have already been born…Ronald Reagan

  • Cheri

    Thank you WHNT and to the journalist for not only covering this important legislation, but for also maintaining the accurate title of those who believe abortion is a right and support it as such. Pro-gun supporters proudly advocate for gun rights, and any fool knows that they don’t believe in forcing everyone to have guns.

    It’s time pro-aborts face themselves in the mirror and accept that the issue of contention is over the killing choice of abortion–not the vast array of other reproductive choices that abortion opponents support such as home birth, hospital birth, natural birth, midwives, doulas, OBGyns, homeopathic remedies, prenatal vitamins, inductions, epidurals, C-sections, parenting, adoption, NFP, contraceptives, and yes, many although not all support hormonal birth control–instead of wasting everyone’s time with euphemistic semantics.

    This isn’t a religious issue, contrary to what pro-aborts so desperately want people to believe.

    It isn’t a woman’s rights issue–being a woman is not a license to kill her offspring.

    It is a human rights issue, period.

    Something so vital as the defining moment of the beginning and legal protection of each and every human being’s life, born or yet to be born, balanced with the lives and rights of others, should not be left to personal opinions but to science and logic.

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