The Arkansas state Senate passed the Human Heartbeat Protection Act in a 28 to 6 decision Thursday. This act would require women who are seeking to terminate their pregnancies to undergo a vaginal ultrasound, reported Reuters. If the probe is able to detect a fetal heartbeat, the woman would not be allowed to undergo an abortion on the grounds that a fetus with a heartbeat is a human being.
The act would prohibit most abortions in the state, but exceptions would be made for cases of rape and incest. A heartbeat can be detected at six weeks and many women do not know they are pregnant at this point.
"Can you imagine what kind of feeling that would cause when inserted into a woman?" Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) told the Associated Press, speaking of the transvaginal ultrasound.
In recent years, a number of "fetal heartbeat" bills have been proposed across the country with varying levels of success. A similar bill was recently voted down in Wyoming. In November 2012, Ohio passed a fetal heartbeat bill in the state House but it expired in the state Senate. In Oklahoma, a bill passed that requires doctors to ask a woman if she’d like to hear the heartbeat of the fetus prior to an abortion.