Wisconsin GOP: Bill blocks abortions if heartbeat is detected

Republican legislators in Madison have introduced a bill that would prohibit abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The bill would prohibit anyone from performing or attempting to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is present unless the pregnant woman's life is in danger or she could suffer irreversible physical problems from the pregnancy. If a provider detects a heartbeat the pregnant woman would be required to listen to it.

A physician accused of performing an abortion if a heartbeat is detected would be subject to investigation by the state Medical Examining Board for unprofessional conduct.

The bill would allow anyone to sue an abortion provider who violates the prohibition. The language is similar to a Texas law passed last year that allows anyone to sue providers who perform abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy regardless of whether they have a stake in the abortion.

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Democratic Gov. Tony Evers almost certainly will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Evers vetoed a slate of Republican bills aimed at reducing abortions in December, including measures that would put doctors in prison for life if they don't provide care for babies that survive abortions and ban abortions based on the fetus' sex.

Evers said then that as long as he is governor he'll veto any legislation that "turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state."

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