LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Three major pro-life bills made progress at the state capitol Thursday. The Arkansas Senate voted to prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The House Public Health Committee also passed measures that would take away public funding and prevent abortions after 20 weeks.
Right now in Arkansas, a woman can terminate her pregnancy up to 21 weeks, but some lawmakers are hoping to change that. While some said it's a decision that's best left up to women, one woman said it's a decision she never should have made.
"When I was 19, I was faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and I chose abortion," said Kandi Cox. It's a decision she said she doesn't go a day without remembering.
"When I went in and was going through the procedure. I actually changed my mind. I just had this feeling like this is wrong," said Cox.
But for Cox, it was too late. She said three nurses held her down while the procedure was completed.
"At that time, I was 7.5 weeks along and what I know now is my baby had a heartbeat," said Cox.
That heartbeat is what legislators are trying to protect with Senate Bill 134, but not everyone agrees.
"Leave these personal and private decisions to them and keep them out of the state house," said Rita Sklar, Executive Director of ACLU Arkansas. She said abortion is not an issue lawmakers should be handling.
"It shouldn't be for the elected officials to make these decisions. This should be for the women, the doctors and their families and whoever else they consult in these most personal situations," said Sklar.
Now Cox runs her own adoption agency and is the mother of seven, four of them adopted. She spends every Friday at local abortion clinics counseling the women that go in. She said anywhere from 18 to 30 women frequent those clinics a day, many of them from out of state since Arkansas' current abortion laws allow women to abort up to 21 weeks. She hopes by sharing her painful experience to other women, more children will be saved.
"Then they don't have to live with the years of regret because that doesn't go away," said Cox.
HB1100 which prevents public funding of abortions under the healthcare law signed by President Obama and HB1037 that prevents abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, at which point the unborn child can feel pain will go before the House of Representatives next week for a vote.
SB 134, the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act which would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected-about the 6th week of pregnancy-will go before the House Public Health Committee next week.
Governor Beebe will have to sign off on all of these bills before they become law. He has not said whether he will support any of the measures.