Ending abortion at the heart: States attempt to ban abortion based on fetal heartbeat


heart-babyEarlier this year, I reported on the Kansas legislature’s attempt to become the third state to pass a fetal heartbeat bill. Ohio is now the newest state joining the battle. As Representative Christina Hagan puts it:

It’s a new general assembly, and we’re ready to start the fire again, and we’re ready for battle for what we believe is most important in this world, and that is life.

Heartbeatbill.com states the basic premise for heartbeat bills rather simply: “If the heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.” While a baby’s heartbeat is present at only 22 days after fertilization, it can typically be detected at five or six weeks by an ultrasound. Many supporters of heartbeat bills in various states believe that the bills will save lives and also, potentially provide a path to end abortion entirely.

In my experienced opinion, the protective Heartbeat Bill will drastically modify Roe vs. Wade and lead directly to its reversal. I do not say this lightly. … While I am for protecting all unborn babies, this bill is a giant step toward our goal since it will protect at least 95 percent of all babies in Ohio who would otherwise be aborted…  –Dr. Jack Willke, Co-Founder of National Right to Life, President of International Right to Life and Life Issues Institute.

An information and FAQ sheet, specifically designed for Ohio’s heartbeat bill, explains the strategy behind such bills:

The Heartbeat Bill, like the Post-viability abortion ban, is an incremental bill. As the Post Viability ban doesn’t compromise our desire or eventual ability to protect younger babies–including frozen embryos or those killed for stem cell research–likewise, the Heartbeat Bill doesn’t affirm other abortions simply because it doesn’t protect every child. The Heartbeat Bill’s increment, however, is one that will save far more lives upwards of 20,000 Ohio lives per year.

While it’s not the beginning of life, the heartbeat is an ‘indicator’ of life that is recognized in hospitals across the nation. In fact, the abortion lobby has written that the Heartbeat Bill is ‘more dangerous than Personhood Amendments’ because they realize it takes from them the usual scare tactics of “rape and incest” and standard argument of “choice,” and, instead, focuses on a baby with a beating heart. It’s a new and yet unheard (in the courts) approach addressing the humanity of the child.

There is also information from two former clerks to Justice Kennedy who have indicated that in their estimation this bill would not only be one Justice Kennedy would be interested in reviewing should it be struck down, but one which would likely ‘work’ in moving the line of protection all the way back to heartbeat.

Of course, there are multiple advantageous strategies within the pro-life movement (including Personhood Amendments and incremental legislation), and multiple avenues of ending abortion ought to be tried at the same time. Supporters of heartbeat bills provide compelling reasons why this type of legislation ought to be one of the current strategies. Since it is likely impossible to predict the “silver bullet” that will take down Roe and end abortion, pro-lifers must be proactive in continually chipping away at Roe, attempting to entirely reverse it, and also ending its effects in society.

Heartbeat-300x216OneNewsNow interviewed Mark Gietzen of the Kansas Coalition for Life, and he told them that Kansas’ version of the heartbill bill has the public on its side:

‘The public is so with us on this,’ he says. ‘Extremely high percentages of Republicans, Democrats and Independents are with us on this Heartbeat legislation.’

That’s aside from political and legal issues.

‘They see it in simple terms,’ says Gietzen. ‘If a baby’s heart is beating, that’s a human being and that should be protected in law.’

People who identify as ‘pro-choice,’ agree that, after the heart is beating, the child should be protected, he says.

And indeed, it seems a simple proposition that if there is clear evidence of life, that life ought to be protected from certain death. We know that a new, unique, undeniable human being comes into existence at the moment of fertilization (and this should be the moment of protection as well), but protection at the time of heartbeat detection is a step in the right direction.

Since so many Americans have been affected – and traumatized – by abortion (over 54 million abortions have been performed since 1973), it should follow that many Americans want to see this tragedy ended before it takes the lives of even more innocent human beings.

Kathryn Bretz, a woman who has experienced abortion firsthand, details exactly why she supports heartbeat bills:

Knowing that I killed my own precious baby, who had a beating heart, has traumatized and devastated me beyond description and has destroyed so much happiness and has lead to chronic migraine pain easily triggered by inconsolable grieving. An unplanned pregnancy would have lead to unplanned joy. I regret this choice with every fiber of my heart and soul… I’ve thought about and loved this baby intensely every day of my life for almost 30 years. And I never was a mom to another child-due to infertility. This means that in a moment of haste, in my youth, not fully informed, I killed the only child I ever conceived. If I would have seen an ultrasound and seen that beating heart, wild horses couldn’t have kept me in that clinic! I would have known the truth and my baby would be alive today.

For more information on heartbeat bills, you can watch the video below:

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