Senate Passes Bill to Ban Most Abortions Once Fetal Heartbeat Is Detected

The Georgia Senate passed legislation Friday to ban abortion on most babies once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, albeit with more exceptions than the version originally introduced in the state House.

House Bill 481’s original language states that “no abortion is authorized or shall be performed if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat,” except to save a mother from death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” or if the pregnancy has been deemed “medically futile” (i.e., the child would die shortly after birth). The bill specifies that mental or emotional conditions do not qualify.

Earlier this month, Georgia Right to Life president Ricardo Davis called the measure, which was introduced alongside a trigger bill to automatically ban most abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned, a “hopeful step toward the ultimate goal of adopting a ‘personhood’ amendment to the state constitution that will protect all innocent human life from fertilization through natural death.”

The measure passed the House 93-73 earlier this month, and a version passed the Senate on a 34-18, party-line vote Friday. The vote followed four hours of contentious debate, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I applaud the members who supported the heartbeat bill’s passage for protecting the vulnerable and giving a voice to those who cannot yet speak for themselves,” Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said. But despite Kemp’s campaign-trail pledge to enact the “toughest abortion laws in the country,” the Senate version is notably weaker than both the original House version and the heartbeat laws of other states. (Read more from “Senate Passes Bill to Ban Most Abortions Once Fetal Heartbeat Is Detected” HERE)

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