Fetal heartbeat bill passes Mississippi House

A bill that would require physicians to search for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion passed the Mississippi House Wednesday.

The bill potentially would require women to have transvaginal ultrasounds of the sort that were contested in Virginia recently, because a heartbeat cannot be heard through a traditional ultrasound until five or six weeks into a pregnancy, legislators said. House Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said it would be up to the State Board of Health to determine the method doctors use to search for the heartbeat.

Asked for the purpose of the bill, Gipson told the House it was so “the woman could know about it (the heartbeat) and prevent abortion in case it’s detected.” The measure is among a number being supported by anti-abortion groups in this year’s legislative session.