New Bill Aims at Updating Abortion Law with Science

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The House heard arguments this week for a new pro-life bill that will ban any abortion past the point of detection of a heartbeat, which usually occurs at around six weeks gestation.

The Daily Caller is reporting on hearings held in the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017 which would ban abortion after detection of a heartbeat. It mandates that the presiding doctor must determine whether a fetus has a detectable heartbeat and inform the mother of the results before proceeding with the abortion. Doctors who violate the law would be subject to five years in prison.

Rep. Steve King, (R-IA), the bill’s sponsor, cited the 14th Amendment which codifies the language of the Declaration of Independence in which Americans are determined to be endowed by their Creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“In both cases, life is the paramount right and cannot be taken without due process. Liberty is a right secondary to life. No one in exercising their right to liberty has a legitimate Constitutional or moral claim to take the life of another,” King said.

Therefore, he argued, the question before Americans today is not “Can the lives of innocent babies be taken in exercising the right to the liberty of the mother,” but rather, “At what instant does life begin?”

“Science cannot precisely pinpoint the instant of conception but the ultrasound proves beyond any doubt that life is present every time there is a Heartbeat,” Rep. King said. “The promises of our Founding Fathers must be restored to the voiceless and most vulnerable. Liberty can never again become the excuse to take the life of another.”

During the hearing, he said, “It pains my soul to think of the countless babies killed since abortion-on-demand became commonplace in the unconstitutional decision in Roe vs. Wade … We are decades past the time to defend the sanctity of human life.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

The definition of life beginning at conception was determined as long ago as the Carter administration in the 1970’s, King said.

“It’s time to codify what we know to be true,” King said. “If the heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected,” he added, positing that the government has a duty to uphold the Fourteenth Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause.

Pro-abortion entities that profit off of abortion were quick to slam the legislation because it would ban all abortions after six weeks, a point at which many women are not even aware that they’re pregnant.

“These decisions should be left up to a woman, in consultation with her doctor and her family — and never made for her by a politician,” said Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Action Fund to The Hill.

“This attack on women’s health and rights isn’t just dangerous, it’s extremely out of touch with what the majority of Americans want from their representatives.”

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, also disregarded the rights of the child in deference to those of the mother saying that the bill is “just another case of men who don’t think women have the right to control their own bodies.”

However, Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) had nothing but praise for the bill.

“Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, medical knowledge regarding the development of unborn babies and their capacities at various stages of growth has advanced dramatically,” he said.

“Congress has the power, and the responsibility, to acknowledge the significance of these profound developments through the enactment of pro-life legislation.”

As of this writing, no date has been set for a vote on the legislation.

Regardless of its chances of passage, legislation of this kind serves a vital purpose because it strengthens the argument in favor of life and uses those arguments to educate the public about the changing nature of the abortion debate in this country. Thus far, the pro-life position has developed along with science while the pro-abortion position is still using the same talking points they employed 20 years ago. It’s no wonder that the younger generation, raised on more advanced science and technology, is not persuaded by these dated “pro-choice” arguments.

The time has indeed come for this nation to revisit Roe v. Wade and come to a more scientifically accurate determination about the rights of our unborn citizens.

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