Hours after Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Texas, three lawmakers proposed an even stricter regulation: No abortions to be performed after a fetal heartbeat can be detected—which usually happens around the six-week mark.
The "fetal heartbeat" bill was taken up by Reps. Phil King, Dan Flynn, and Geanie Morrison, all Republicans, in the special session of the legislature convened by Perry for representatives to propose and pass restrictions on abortion. The 20-week ban was the subject of a long, successful filibuster by Rep. Wendy Davis, though it was quickly reproposed and successfully passed.
There's not much time for the fetal heartbeat bill to make its way through the special session, though committee hearings could take place next week, giving it a small window for consideration.
In addition to restricting the window for legal abortions, "heartbeat" bills require women to undergo invasive ultrasound procedures to determine whether a heartbeat can be detected. The only other such ban in the country, in North Dakota, is being challenged in court, as the Texas certainly would be if it were passed.
[image via AP]