More than a dozen states are considering banning abortions as soon as a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, which typically happens at around six weeks of gestation, before many women know they’re pregnant. Four states — Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Ohio — have signed those bills into law in the past few months. Last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a measure that bans abortion at any stage of gestation, except in cases in which the woman’s life is in danger. These early abortion bans are unconstitutional due to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld a woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability. (Researchers say a fetus is not considered viable until around 22 weeks of pregnancy.) The extreme anti-choice measures are also part of a larger trend: In the first three months of 2019, anti-choice lawmakers in 41 states introduced over 250 bills restricting access to abortion care.
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