Share & Connect
In Ohio, the attacks on women’s reproductive rights continue. A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would outlaw abortion after the fetus has its first detectable heartbeat. Representative Lynn Wachtmann, a Republican, worked with Janet Folger Porter, president of Faith2Action who authored the so-called Heartbeat Bill. The group had two fetuses “testify” in favor of the bill at a committee hearing. Things keep getting weirder.
The heartbeat bill would forbid abortion in any case where there was a detectable heartbeat, which can occur as early as 18 days into a pregnancy. “When a heartbeat of a baby is detected, that baby will be protected from abortion,” Wachtmann told the Hudson Hub Times last month. “It’s really as simple as that. … As technology improves in medicine, as it continually does, that protection will move closer and closer to conception, which is I think for many of us what our ultimate goal of protecting life is.”
In a press release, Faith 2Action said that the fetus would be the youngest ever to “testify”. Am I the only one feeling like I am in Saturday Night Live sketch? “For the first time in a committee hearing, legislators will be able to see and hear the beating heart of a baby in the womb–just like the ones the Heartbeat Bill will protect,” Porter said in the release. Two pregnant women were given ultrasounds during the hearing and the images were projected onto a screen for legislators to look at. A flashing dot was identified as the beating hearts of the fetuses, one at 15 weeks’ gestation, the other at nine.
Not even all pro-life groups are behind the legislation. “We don’t want to put our legislative focus and efforts on that. While it has good intentions, it won’t save lives. That’s the bottom line,” said Ed Sitter, Executive Director for Toledo Right to Life. The organization has drafted its own bill. It would outlaw abortions 20 weeks after conception.
Sitter said even if the Heartbeat Bill passes, it will get struck down by the courts. Pro-choice groups also feel the bill is unconstitutional. “At a time when Ohio is facing a crushing budget deficit, it’s absolutely appalling that the sponsor of this legislation and his allies would plunge the state into years of costly litigation,” said Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.