Proposed abortion changes would make Alabama's law toughest in the country

Published: Apr. 13, 2015 at 9:11 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2015 at 9:44 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A new debate is brewing over abortion in Alabama. New proposed changes would make Alabama's abortion laws the toughest in the country.

The fetal heartbeat bill has passed the Alabama House before but didn't make it through the Senate.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, is introducing it this time.

"If you were to have a heart attack right now, paramedics and people who came in to try to revive you would be listening for your heartbeat, and when they no longer found a heartbeat, you would no longer be considered alive anymore," Collins said.

The bill requires doctors to look for a heartbeat in the fetus before performing an abortion. If a heartbeat is found, the abortion would be illegal.

"It eliminates their window of opportunity to obtain an abortion," says Jayme Calhoun, a longtime advocate for reproductive rights. "Abortion is always going to be in the legislature in Alabama. They have a primary purpose of doing away with abortion completely."

Currently, Alabama law requires an ultrasound before an abortion. It's legal up to 20 weeks into the pregnancy and 48 hours after a woman receives counseling.

"Women have a constitutional right to seek abortion," Calhoun said.

"I believe women have rights," Collins said. "But that little unborn baby, I believe should have the right to life. I mean, I think it's in our constitution."

This bill has only been introduced in the House.

It would have to get past a committee before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

North Dakota tried to pass a similar law last year. The Federal Court ruled it unconstitutional.

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