One by one, states have been introducing legislation that chips away at women's reproductive rights. Now a coalition of the nation's preeminent nutjobs is planning to push legislation in all 50 states that would require women to see and hear the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion. Why aren't they just pushing a single bill on the federal level? For starters, it would be redundant because Michele Bachmann already introduced one last week.
Mike Gonidakis, whose group Ohio Right To Life is part of the coalition, tells the Associated Press that anti-choicers' renewed focus on heartbeats has nothing to do with the insane (and illegal) bill that's currently stalled in the Ohio legislature. The "Heartbeat Bill," which involved a fetus testifying before a committee, would ban women from getting an abortion if the fetus' heartbeat can be detected. The timeframe varies, but in some cases that could be as early as 18 days after conception. The bill is such a clear violation of Roe v. Wade's viability standard that it's divided anti-abortion groups, as some fear that it will only reaffirm the 1973 decision.
According to Gonidakis, the coalition has already run the new legislation by their lawyers to make sure it's repressive, but not to the point that the Supreme Court will get involved. The bill would require abortion providers to make the fetal heartbeat audible and visible to pregnant women. The language is similar to Bachmann's "Heartbeat Informed Consent Act," which would,
... Require that abortion providers make the unborn child's heartbeat visible through ultrasound, describe the cardiac activity, and make the baby's heartbeat audible, if the child is old enough for it to be detectable.
However, unlike Bachmann's proposed legislation, the bill isn't just a political maneuver to save a floundering campaign. Bachmann's bill won't get past the Senate or President Obama, so the legislation has a better chance of making through state governments. It's being back by several major conservative groups, including National Right to Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council Action.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, says of the legislation, "Let's be clear, they all want to take away a woman's ability to make personal, private decisions by outlawing abortion." That seems a little unfair. Anti-abortion groups just want to make sure women are fully informed about one element of the fetus' development. Sure, the fetus is cooking up some other organs in there, but the only one that really matters is the heart, because we don't put spleens and colons on one onesies and Mother's Day cards.
Abortion Foes Push Fetal Heartbeat Bills In States [AP]
Lagging in polls, Bachmann Focuses Campaign On Abortion [Minnesota Independent]
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