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Mae Beavers

Tennessee AG says abortion bill likely to face legal snags

Legislation to outlaw abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected by ultrasound may not be able to withstand a court challenge, the state's attorney general says.

However, Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in a written opinion Wednesday that a provision in the proposal to force women to get an ultrasound before an abortion is constitutionally defensible.

The legislation, proposed by Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, and Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, would make it a felony to have an abortion if the fetal heartbeat were detected, even if the fetus were not developed enough to live outside the uterus. That could be as early as six weeks.

The criminal charges would...