On Wednesday, an Alabama Senate Committee voted 7-1 to approve a bill that would ban abortion after fetal heartbeat.
The bill would make it a felony for a doctor to abort a baby whose heartbeat had been detected. Exceptions are made for cases in which the mother’s life is in danger, cases of ectopic pregnancy, and cases of lethal anomaly in the fetus.
Terri LaPoint, a supporter of the bill, pointed out advances in research that allow for a modern understanding of fetal development – an understanding which has changed since the days of Roe v. Wade.
“We know what babies look like,” she said. “We know by 12 weeks they are fully developed, just growing. They are people.”
Oddly, opponents of the bill either don’t seem to understand basic biology or truly believe that a preborn child is a part of his mother’s body:
“I don’t understand the obsession with the heartbeat,” said Xandi Andersen of Montgomery, who spoke against the bill. “There’s nothing magical that happens in pregnancy that makes the woman’s body anybody’s but her own.”
A similar bill failed to pass in Alabama last year. Related bills have been struck down by federal courts, but supporters have indicated willingness to go to court over the abortion ban if necessary.
In addition to the fetal heartbeat abortion ban, a bill banning the sale of aborted baby parts also cleared the committee. Both bills now pass to the full Senate.