A bill banning abortions as soon as the heartbeat of the unborn child can be detected is heading to Congress.
The House will hear the case for the “Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017” on Nov. 1 to decide whether to adopt a bill banning abortion upon detection of a heartbeat, which usually occurs around 6 weeks. It’s passage would mark not only a huge win for the pro-life moment, but would also place tightened restrictions on abortion doctors than what states currently have. Doctors who violate the law would be subject to five years in prison.
Introduced by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the bill — H.R. 490 — insists that the doctor must determine whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat and inform the mother of the results before proceeding with an abortion if no heartbeat is present.
“We think this bill properly applied does eliminate a large, large share of the abortions—90% or better—of the abortions in America,” King told reporters at a January press conference. “By the time we march this thing down to the Supreme Court, the faces on the bench will be different—we just don’t know how much different, but I’m optimistic,” King added.
If the House adopts the measure, it would complicate the Roe v. Wade ruling which states that laws cannot prevent women from getting abortions before the fetus is viable. It is unclear how the House will rule, given that the Supreme Court rejected North Dakota’s appeal of the heartbeat bill after it was blocked in 2015.
An Ohio House committee also approved House Bill 214 in a 12-6 vote banning abortions for women who will likely have a child with Down syndrome on Wednesday according to the Columbus Dispatch. “We hope that the precedent now set by Indiana, North Dakota, and Ohio will inspire a national wave,” Americans United For Life (AUL) president Catherine Glenn Foster said on Thursday after the approval.
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