LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Senate has voted to ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, a move that would prohibit the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
By a 26-8 vote, the Senate approved legislation that would require a test to detect a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed. If one is detected, a woman could not have an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and if a mother's life is in danger.
Similar legislation is also being considered in North Dakota and Mississippi.
The measure now heads to the House. Opponents have warned that they believe the measure is unconstitutional and have vowed to sue the state if it becomes law.
Gov. Mike Beebe has not said whether he supports the abortion ban.COMPLETE COVERAGEArk. lawmaker proposes new abortion restriction (Jan. 28)Ark. Senate passes measure to ban most abortions (Jan. 31)Ark. Gov. suggests abortion bill unconstitutional (Feb. 4)Ark. lawmakers delay vote on 12 week abortion bill (Feb. 12)Changed abortion bill fails Ark. House panel vote (Feb. 14)Ark. panel approves 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 19)Poll: 3/5 of Ark. voters support proposed abortion ban at 12 weeks (Feb. 21)Ark. Senate panel advances 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 27)Ark. Senate approves 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 28)Beebe vetoes 12 week abortion ban (March 4)Override of Beebe's veto may open state to litigation (March 4)State Senate overrides Gov. Beebe's veto on 12 week abortion bill (March 5)House overrides Beebe's veto; 12 week abortion bill now law (March 6)Ark. GOP lawmaker says machine didn't record vote (March 7)