Arizona lawmakers advanced another pro-life bill this week, one that would ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable.

Arizona Public Media reports state House Bill 2140 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee in a party-line vote and now heads to the full state Senate for consideration.

The heartbeat bill, one of several pro-life measures being considered in Arizona this spring, would make it illegal to abort an unborn baby after their heartbeat is detectable, typically about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Abortionists who violate the law could face felony charges.

Dr. Erika Kreller, an OB-GYN from Phoenix, told lawmakers that she supports the bill, according to the report.

“I think that what we’re trying to do here is to protect as many babies as we can and protect the woman from the aftereffects of abortion,” Kreller told the committee.

KJZZ News reports state Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, also spoke about the need to protect unborn babies from being killed in abortions.

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“It is the job of the legislature to criminalize a medical procedure that society decides is something that needs to be criminalized, so we’ll find our pathway to get there,” Townsend said.

Other pro-life bills introduced in the state legislature this spring include a ban on discriminatory abortions that target unborn babies with genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome and a total ban on abortions.

Heartbeat bills also are advancing in the Texas and Oklahoma legislatures, and South Carolina passed a heartbeat law in March.

Polls suggest many Americans support strong limits on abortion. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.

A number of states have passed heartbeat laws in recent years, but most have been banned from enforcing them due to legal challenges by abortion activist groups. These include Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Tennessee. However, all of the states have been blocked from enforcing them by court orders.

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

Though the high court currently has a conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by a Republican president, has sided with the liberal justices on a number of occasions.

In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.

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