'Heartbeat bill' passes Georgia Senate 34-18, heads to House for final vote

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The Georgia Senate passed a controversial abortion bill Friday afternoon by a 34-18 vote.

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House Bill 481 would ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks of gestation. Women in Georgia can currently seek an abortion up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy. The bill makes exceptions in the case of rape and incest, but only when the woman files a police report first, as well as when a fetus is deemed not compatible with life.

Earlier this week, on Monday, a Georgia Senate committee approved the controversial "heartbeat bill," sending it forward to the full Senate. Gov. Brian Kemp has already pledged to sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk.

Many supporters of the bill gathered at the Georgia Capitol Friday before senators were scheduled to meet.

“I believe that humanity supersedes choice,” said Jessica Daniel with Georgia Life Alliance. “So the human being inside of us is above that choice for abortion.

The bill will now go to the Georgia House to be reconciled.


Meanwhile, protesters also gathered dressed as characters from the popular Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale. They showed up with signs in protest against the bill with one sign reading, “HB481: Just another example of men trying to control women’s bodies.”

Previous hearings on the bill had so many people show up that many were turned away and had to watch on monitors around the state Capitol.

Similar measures are moving through legislatures in Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina.

Opponents are concerned that the bill will not stop abortions in Georgia, just force women to seek unsafe, illegal procedures.

MORE: Georgia Senate committee approves 'heartbeat bill'