Four abortion bills are headed to the Alabama Senate after being approved by the Alabama House of Representatives Tuesday.
House representatives voted to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Both sides of the abortion debate agree the proposal could end up banning most abortions.
The bill passed 73-29. If the legislation wins approval in the Senate, it would tie Alabama with North Dakota as having the most stringent abortion restriction in the country.
Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Indian Springs said the bill is needed to protect unborn life.
Opponents said it is unconstitutional and will be stopped by the courts.
North Dakota approved a similar law last year, but a federal judge put it on hold.
Proponents of heartbeat laws have said they hope to eventually challenge the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Representatives also approved a bill Tuesday to extend the required waiting period before an abortion from 24 to 48 hours.
Republican Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle says the additional time would give a woman the opportunity to change her mind about getting an abortion.
Democratic Rep. Darrio Melton of Selma says, while he's against abortion, women could make their own decisions without state interference.
Alabama currently requires women to receive information, either in person or through the mail, about abortion alternatives and possible adverse outcomes 24 hours prior to an abortion.
The House also passed bill requiring parents to present a birth certificate or adoption papers when giving consent for their daughter to have an abortion and requiring women seeking an abortion because of lethal fetal anomalies to be told about perinatal hospice services.