Georgia’s ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill is one of several across the nation. Where do those bills stand now?
(CNN) — As the Georgia “heartbeat” bill awaits Governor Brian Kemp’s signature, it joins legislation in many states — at many stages of the process — that intend to ban abortions when doctors can detect a heartbeat.
Currently in Georgia, women are allowed to undergo abortion procedures up to their 20th week of pregnancy, but the pending bills would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into the pregnancy.
Many women don’t know they are pregnant at that point.
Proponents, like the Georgia bill’s author Republican state Rep. Ed Setzler, say abortion is a “barbaric procedure” and that many other options exist for women.
Critics, like the American Civil Liberties Union, say Georgia’s legislation “would ban safe, legal abortion and criminalize the most intimate decision women and couples make.”
Other bills like Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill have been proposed elsewhere, but many times they are held up in committees, rejected in legislative votes, vetoed by governors and struck down in courts. No state has been able to put a heartbeat bill into lasting practice.
Here is where some of those bills stand now:
House Bill 481, or the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, was approved on Friday in the Georgia General Assembly. It was passed 92 to 78 in the Republican-majority House after the state Senate approved the bill last week and sent changes back to the House.
It now awaits Gov. Kemp’s signature, and he is expected to sign it.
The ACLU says it will go to court if Kemp signs the bill.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed “heartbeat” legislation in May of last year, but a state judge struck down the law this January.
The judge wrote in his decision that defenders didn’t identify a compelling reason for the ban, according to The Des Moines Register.
Though she initially said she was disappointed by the decision, Reynolds said the state would not appeal the strike-down decision.
A “heartbeat” bill was signed by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant last week. Exceptions would be to prevent a woman’s death or her serious risk of impairment.
“The heartbeat has been the universal hallmark of life since man’s very beginning,” Bryant said in an address before signing the bill.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has promised to “take Mississippi to court to make sure it never takes effect.”
Another “heartbeat” bill has been referred to committee in the House after passing in the state Senate, and Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said in January that he would “absolutely” sign legislation like it.
This bill was not the first of its kind introduced in the state: a similar one was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich last year.
DeWine said he anticipates that after he signs the bill, he will face lawsuits “the next day.”
Earlier this month, Tennessee’s “heartbeat” bill was passed on first consideration in the House and on Wednesday it was placed on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar.
The vote in the House passed 65-21, and it is on the Senate committee calendar for April 2. But some advocacy groups strongly oppose the bill.
“With our partners, we are working to stop this bill in the Senate. However, should it be signed into law, the ACLU of Tennessee and our client are prepared to file a lawsuit immediately,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-Tennessee executive director in a statement.
Other states: Legislators in Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri and Kentucky also have introduced bills this year. Kentucky’s version was stopped from becoming law by a judge earlier this month.