Arkansas Panel Reviews Rules On Fetal Heartbeat Notification

May 13, 2015

A requirement for Arkansas doctors to test for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed has cleared an administrative hurdle.

The Arkansas Legislative Council subcommittee on Wednesday reviewed rules created by the Arkansas State Medical Board under a 2013 act. It also included a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy.

That ban was overturned by a federal district court and an appeal is being heard in a U.S. court of appeals. The federal district court ruled that the fetal heartbeat requirement could be implemented.

Under the requirement, doctors must determine and inform a woman if there is a fetal heartbeat. The woman must sign a consent form saying she understands the heartbeat is present before an abortion can be performed.