Heartbeat Movement Picks Up Steam

Steven Mosher
by Elizabeth Crnkovich
Population Research Institute.
Weekly Briefing

Reproduced with Permission

A baby's heart starts beating approximately 22 days after conception, and can be heard in the average clinical setting at roughly six weeks. Banning all abortions after this point would cut the abortion rate by 90 percent or so. A million American lives would be saved each year.

That is why we at PRI, along with Pro-Life leaders like Dr. Jack Wilke, support Heartbeat legislation. So does the public at large, which agrees that it is wrong to stop a beating heart.

Those who profit from abortion are quick to object to any proposed legislation that restricts it, since this cuts into their income. Heartbeat legislation is a particular threat to their bloody livelihood, because it would take away perhaps four-fifths of their business. As a result, their lobbyists have been working overtime to try and discredit Heartbeat bills by making the most outrageous and unreasonable claims.

So it was that when Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert first introduced his Heartbeat bill, the abortionists claimed that it would legitimate a kind of medical rape by mandating a trans-vaginal ultrasound. This is nonsense, of course. Heartbeat legislation would prohibit an abortion after the heartbeat can be detected in a "normal clinical setting," which in practical terms means at five or six weeks by external ultrasound.

Not taken in by the abortionists shuck and jive, the Arkansas State Senate handily passed Senator Rapert's proposed bill, "To Create the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act; To Protect Unborn Children."

At that point the abortionists upped the ante. Several members of the Arkansas House repeated the absurd claim of "rape," and the state's Democrat governor expressed concerns about the bill's "legality."

In response, Rapert amended his bill by moving the ban forward to 12 weeks gestation, when there is no question that each and every baby's heartbeat can be easily detected by abdominal ultrasound. (Eight weeks would surely have been sufficient in this regard, but perhaps the good Senator was a little spooked by the false charge of "rape.") His amended bill now also allows exceptions for health of the mother, as well as cases of rape or incest.

Thus amended, the bill passed the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee of the Arkansas House, and is set to be voted on by the entire House in the near future. Whether the state's Democrat governor, who insists that he is pro-life, will veto the legislation remains to be seen.

We hope that other state legislators will follow Senator Rapert's example and introduce similar legislation in their own state legislatures. In order to avoid the pitfalls that he has encountered, such draft laws should simply state that abortion shall be illegal "after the baby's heartbeat can be detected by external ultrasound in a normal clinical setting."

By ruling out a "transvaginal ultrasound," the abortion lobby would be denied the opportunity to level the false charge of "medical rape" and thus distract the public from the fact that nearly all abortions stop a beating heart.

Once such laws are in place, continued technological advances will work in our favor. In the not-too-distant future every baby's heartbeat will be able to be detected -- by external ultrasound -- as soon as it begins. And these state laws will work to put abortion on the road to gradual extinction.

This is why we support Heartbeat Legislation and encourage its passage in every state. You can help us in this effort by signing PRI's heartbeat petition!