Rep. Steve King Introduces Bill to Ban Aborting Babies With Heartbeats

By Lauretta Brown | January 16, 2017 | 4:01pm EST
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill in the House Thursday that would prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable. The legislation also requires doctors to check for the unborn child’s heartbeat, which is detectable as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The legislation, the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017,  says that “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; without informing the mother of the results of that determination; or after determining, according to standard medical practice, that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”

The bill has an exception for the life of the mother in the case of “a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions.”

It also clarifies that “a mother upon whom an abortion is performed” is not liable and may not be prosecuted under the legislation.  

“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 announcing the bill. “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.

“All human persons have a right to life,” King added. “How then could we confer that those rights allow the killing of a baby? 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.”

King’s office confirmed to Rewire that this is the first bill of its kind, attempting to ban abortion after the detection of a heartbeat, introduced on the national level in Congress.

In June, the Supreme Court upheld a July 2014 federal judge’s ruling on a similar North Dakota heartbeat bill which struck down the bill on the basis that Roe v. Wade “unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar piece of legislation in December over concerns that it would’ve faced costly legal challenges.

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