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Abortion: Tennessee lawmakers advance fetal heartbeat bill



A bill to ban most abortions in Tennessee once a fetal heartbeat is detected is headed for a vote of the state's full House with backing of the governor  

A bill that would ban most Tennessee women from obtaining abortions once a fetus' heartbeat is detected cleared a key hurdle Tuesday, advancing for a full House vote in the GOP-dominated Legislature.

The move comes amid a national movement from anti-abortion legislators and activists who hope that President Donald Trump's appointments to the Supreme Court will increase their chances of undermining abortion rights.

Tennessee is among several states with pending bills to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy. The goal is to trigger a legal challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a nationwide right to abortion and possibly upend the ruling that established a woman's right to an abortion, as well as other rulings that have determined states cannot place undue burdens on a woman's constitutional right to abortion before a fetus is viable — typically between 24 and 28 weeks.

"This is an issue that has been on my heart my whole life," said Rep. Micah Van Huss, a Republican sponsoring the bill, during Tuesday's hearing. "I aim to save babies lives."

Republicans on the House Health Committee voted 15-4 to send the legislation to the House floor for a full vote, sparking heavy applause from supporters. Only Democratic members voted in opposition. While the bill still has to clear the House floor and the Senate, the bill is expected to win support from Republicans. Furthermore, first-term Gov. Bill Lee has promised his support if the bill reaches his desk.