Bill Misrepresenting the Science of Fetal Development Introduced in Alabama

On May 15, 2019, the Alabama legislature passed House Bill 314 which makes abortion and attempted abortion a criminal offense (except in limited situations where the health of the mother is at risk). Section 2 of the bill, titled “Legislative Findings,” states that “[r]ecent medical advances prove a baby’s heart starts to beat at around six weeks.” However, according to medical professionals, that is not the case. At six weeks of pregnancy, ultrasounds can detect a “rhythm” which reflects the electrical activity of the embryo, but is not a “heartbeat” as a six-week-old embryo does not yet have developed organs, such as a heart.


On May 24, 2019, Dr. Yashica Robinson, the Alabama Women’s Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast Inc., Reproductive Health Services of Alabama, and West Alabama Women’s Center filed a lawsuit challenging the bill on constitutional grounds.