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Georgia House passes 'heartbeat bill'

The measure narrowly passed by a single vote.

The Georgia House has voted yes on the controversial "heartbeat bill."

The measure would outlaw abortion as soon as a doctor can detect a heartbeat in a fetus, limiting the window of time to 6 weeks after gestation. 

The bill passed the Georgia Senate on March 22 and has returned to the House for review of changes. The House voted 92 to 78 to approve the bill, which now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp's desk to be signed into law. The bill needed 91 votes to pass, so a single vote pushed it over the line. Lawmakers voted down a motion to reconsider action. 

The controversial measure has been opposed to by major companies in Georgia. Celebrities have also threatened to use their pull to remove movie and film production from the state if the bill is passed.

RELATED: More than 40 celebrities send letter to Gov. Kemp opposing Georgia’s 'heartbeat bill'

The bill makes an exception for rape and incest, allowing abortion up to 20 weeks. But it requires women to file “an official police report … alleging the offense of rape or incest” in order to qualify for the later-term abortion.


The ACLU issued a statement after the bill's passage in the Senate, saying it would challenge the law if implemented.

“As we speak — Georgia has one of the worst maternal death rates in the nation. And the most recent data indicates that black women are almost three times more likely to die from childbirth than white women are. This is morally outrageous,” stated Andrea Young, Executive Director, ACLU of Georgia. “The proposed legislation – HB 481 – represents a callous disregard for their health and wellness and contempt for the Constitutional Rights of Georgia’s women.”

Gov. Brian Kemp has said he supports the measure and would sign it if it reaches his desk.

He issued the following statement right after the vote was passed:

“Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage.

“Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper.”

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