WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Iowa has introduced a federal bill that would ban abortions when a heartbeat is detected, with the exception of the life of the mother.
Rep. Steve King submitted the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017 on Thursday, a move that would criminalize abortions committed on children with beating hearts.
“Any physician who knowingly performs an abortion and thereby kills a human fetus without determining, according to standard medical practice, whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both,” it reads in part.
The woman obtaining the abortion would not face charges, and abortions deemed “necessary to save the life of a mother” would also be exempted from the statute.
As previously reported, some note can an unborn infant’s heartbeat be detected by medical equipment as early as 12 weeks. However, fetal development experts state that the baby’s heart begins beating just 20-25 days after conception.
“Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies’ lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government,” King said in a statement following the filing of the measure. “Human life, beginning at the moment of conception, is sacred in all of its forms and today, I introduced a bill that will protect the lives of voiceless innocents.”
King, a Roman Catholic, noted that Americans have a duty to protect their neighbor’s God-given right to life.
“America was founded on the concept that our rights come from God. All human persons have a right to life. How then could we confer that those rights allow the killing of a baby?” he asked. “I believe our most important responsibility that God has bestowed upon us is to protect innocent human life, and I will continue to dedicate my life to that responsibility.”
The bill is the first of its kind on a federal level. Several states have introduced similar bills, but they have either been struck down by the courts or vetoed by the sitting governor.
As previously reported, just last month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, vetoed the Unborn Heartbeat Protection Act after it passed both houses of the state legislature. He said that while he has “deep respect” for pro-life groups and their efforts to protect life, he felt the case would be unsuccessful in court and “the State of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers.”
Last January, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal after lower courts struck down North Dakota’s heartbeat bill.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, nominated to the bench by then-President George W. Bush, issued a permanent injunction against the law, declaring, “The United States Supreme Court has spoken and has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability. … The controversy over a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion will never end.”
Psalm 139:13-16 reads, “For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect, and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”