So-called “heartbeat” abortion bills have had basically no luck in all of the instances in which they have been proposed at the state level, but that unfortunate track record isn’t stopping one lawmaker from making an effort at getting one passed at the federal level.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has formally proposed H.R. 490, the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, which would make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions once a heartbeat can be detected.
“It is a profound religious and moral understanding that every human person has the right to life,” said King. “The question that has hung before the courts, since 1973 is: ‘When does life begin?’–we all know when that is.”
In discussing the bill, King was joined in the front of the Capitol by fellow congressmen Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Rep. Scott G. Perry (R-Penn.), and Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), as well as by a host of other supporters.
“We stand here and assert that it has to be a distinctive moment. You can’t guess a thing called viability. You can’t say 22 weeks versus 20 weeks. You have to say it is at a specific instant. The most precise instant that we can describe and that we can identify by science is the moment that that heartbeat begins,” King said.
“The core tenet is this: If a heartbeat can be detected, the baby is protected.”
As noted by The Guardian, it is not likely that the bill will make it out of Congress, but the fact that it was proposed at all speaks to the renewed confidence and sense of optimism possessed by pro-life politicians now that Republicans are in charge of both the executive and legislative branches of the government.
As for the third branch of government, the judicial, King referenced the role that might play in his efforts to see his bill passed once President Trump appoints the pro-life justice he’s promised will replace the late Antonin Scalia.
“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 said.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large