Heartbeat Bill

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The Heartbeat Bill is pro-life legislation originating in Ohio, which would prohibit abortion once the heartbeat of the unborn child is detectable. A heartbeat develops in an unborn child typically in the fifth or sixth week of a pregnancy. A federal version of the bill was introduced in Congress in 2017 by Rep. Steve King, but blocked from a floor vote in the House of Representatives.

The National Right to Life Committee typically aligns itself with moderate Republicans (it endorsed Fred Thompson in 2008 for president) and has not endorsed this bill. Ohio Right to Life has lost local chapters in Ohio due to its decision not to endorse passage of the Heartbeat Bill:[1]

The refusal of Ohio Right to Life to get behind the heartbeat proposal has led to bitter dissent. In the last two weeks, six county chapters have angrily withdrawn from the organization including, on Thursday, the Cincinnati chapter, the state’s oldest and largest.

Contrast with Personhood Amendment

Some pro-lifers, including James Bopp, have compared the Heartbeat Bill to the Personhood Amendment. But there is no similarity, and the Heartbeat Bill has none of the flaws associated with the Personhood Amendment.

  • the Heartbeat Bill is legislation, not an initiative, thus is free of the election mischief that the Personhood Amendment causes
  • the Heartbeat Bill is supported by genuine and effective pro-lifers, including Janet Porter, Jack Willkie and Michele Bachmann
  • the Heartbeat Bill is clear and not susceptible to misinterpretations by courts

See also

Further reading