Bill would ban abortion if fetal heartbeat detected


LITTLE ROCK — A bill filed Monday would ban an abortion if a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected.

Senate Bill 134 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, would be known as the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act. The measure would require testing for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion could be performed, and if a heartbeat is detected would prohibit the abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of a rape or incest.

The heartbeat of a fetus can sometimes be detected as early as six weeks, Rapert said Monday.

The bill requires the state Department of Health to write and adopt rules based on “standard medical practice for testing for the fetal heartbeat of an unborn human individual.”