Georgia Senate committee approves 'heartbeat bill'

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A Georgia Senate committee has approved the controversial "heartbeat bill" and has sent it forward to the full Senate.

House Bill 481 would ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks’ gestation. The bill does contain some exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and medical emergency. 

The Senate Science and Technology Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote of 3 to 2 while abortion rights activists chanted "shame" on Monday.

MORE: Senate committee hears testimony on 'heartbeat bill'

Women in Georgia have the legal right to seek abortions during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy . A fetal heartbeat is generally detectable at around six weeks before many women know they are pregnant.

Previous hearings on the bill had so many people show up that many were turned away and had to watch on monitors around the state Capitol.

The measure already passed in the House of Representatives, but needs Senate approval before it can become law.  Governor Brian Kemp has already pledged to sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk.

RELATED: Women dressed as 'Handmaids' protest 'Heartbeat' bill at State Capitol

Similar measures are moving through legislatures in Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Opponents are concerned that the bill will not stop abortions in Georgia, just force women to seek unsafe, illegal procedures.