We thought fetal heartbeat bills were sooo Ohio 2012. Wyoming legislators, however, did not get that memo. A new pair of bills seek to prioritize a woman's fetus's heartbeat over her own: Wyoming House Bill 97, which would bar abortions if an embryo or fetus heartbeat is detected, and Senate File 88, which would require women to hear a whole lot of unnecessary information about said heartbeat and sign a document verifying that she knows she can view and listen to it if she wants.
Wyoming Rep. Kendell Kroeker, who introduced the fetal heartbeat bill, told the Wyoming Star Tribune that the idea for the heartbeat bill just made sense to him — he wasn't inspired by the Personhood Movement or anything like that, no siree.
"It became clear that if a baby had a heartbeat, that seemed simple to me that it's wrong to kill it," he said.
Here's more on HB97:
The bill substitutes two words in current state law with four words. Current law says abortions are prohibited after the embryo or fetus has "reached viability." The proposed law removes "reached viability" and adds "a detectable fetal heartbeat.
The bill defines a "legal heart beat" as "cardiac activity or steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac that is detectable using standard medical equipment."
SF88 requires physicians to tell the women at least 24 hours before the abortion about the abortion method that will be used, medications, side effects and risks including "infection, hemorrhage, cervical or uterine perforation, danger to subsequent pregnancies, the increased risk of breast cancer and the death of the unborn fetus."
Furthermore, a doctor would have to explain alternatives to abortion. Doctors would have to describe the age and anatomic and physiologic characteristics from ultrasound. Doctors would have to offer the woman the opportunity to view the ultrasound image. The woman would have to sign a document saying she's been notified of her opportunity to view and hear the heartbeat.
The potential switch from "viability" to "fetal heartbeat" would be a gigantic coup for anti-abortion advocates — what's more heartbreaking than "killing" a being with a heartbeat? We can think of something: preventing women from making their own reproductive choices by further limiting the situations in which they're "allowed" to get an abortion.
Image via Pastushenko TarasShutterstock.