Georgia House panel approves anti-abortion ‘Heartbeat’ bill

ATLANTA (AP) — Amid gasps and handshakes, Georgia House committee has approved legislation that would outlaw abortion after a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected.

That’s around the same time many women medically confirm they’re pregnant.

Several outbursts slowed Wednesday’s tense and emotional hearing. Activists and citizens on both sides of the issue were moved to tears. Seventeen Republicans voted for the bill, and 14 Democrats against.

The bill makes exceptions for rape and incest if a woman files a police report, and when a pregnancy puts a mother’s life at risk.

Critics say it would jeopardize women’s health and encourage unsafe, self-induced abortions.

Women in Georgia can currently seek an abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. A heartbeat is generally medically detectable at 6 to 7 weeks.

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