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Another US state voting on measure that could outlaw most abortions

Alabama Senate will vote on a bill that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony. Stock image

Politicians in a US state are heading toward a vote on a proposal to outlaw most abortions that has splintered Republicans over its lack of an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

The proposed legislation in Alabama is the latest instance of a US state introducing strict laws although a 1973 decision at the US Supreme Court legalised terminations.

The Republican dominated Alabama Senate will vote on the bill that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives 74-3, but some Republican senators have expressed discomfort that the bill does not include an exception for rape.

Others say they oppose exceptions because their goal is to create a court case to challenge the 1973 decision that legalised abortion nationwide.

The legislation comes after four states have approved abortion bans once a foetal heartbeat can be detected.

Meanwhile, Michigan's Republican-led Legislature is poised to vote to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure, pushing ahead with legislation that would likely be vetoed by Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The bills up for votes would prohibit physicians from performing a dilation and evacuation abortion except to save a woman's life.

The procedure, which anti-abortion advocates call "dismemberment", was used in 1,777, or 6.7 per cent, of abortions in Michigan in 2017.

With Ms Whitmer expected to veto the measures if they reach her desk, Right To Life is preparing to launch an identical citizens' initiative that could be enacted by politicians without her signature.

Abortion-rights supporters say the legislation is unconstitutional.

Courts have blocked bans on the procedure in other states, and the issue ultimately may be decided by the US Supreme Court.

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