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Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?

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 Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
Homemade Poster

A Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
Abortion stops a beating heart!

Have a heart! Don’t stop one!

The heartbeat is a sign of life!

Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
The Backstory

We all know that a beating heart shows that life exists. No doubt, pro-life legislators had this one in mind when drafting legislation. Called the “Heartbeat Bill,” it seems to divide even people in the pro-life community. Abortion is so divisive and controversial that any legislation related to it is controversial. Pro-life lobbyists and legislators struggle to get even “reasonable” bills passed. The Heartbeat bill brings up strong emotions. Currently, it sits on Ohio Governor John Kasich’s desk. Weeks ago, the Ohio Senate and House passed the Heartbeat Bill. This is the first time that this happened in Ohio. Obviously, the Ohio Governor is struggling with this legislation. He has had it before him for a week as I write this. Abortion advocates have bombarded Kasich with petitions and public appearances. “Veto that Heartbeat Bill! Stand with women!” And pro-life advocates similarly are flooding him with counterpart calls: “Pass that Heartbeat Bill!” “Protect the unborn!”

Will John Kasich pass or veto the Heartbeat Bill?

A Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
What is the Heartbeat Bill?

Let’s examine the Heartbeat Bill itself. Pro-life legislators obviously had the heartbeat sign of life fact in mind as they crafted their legislation. As their bill’s text states, an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected at just six weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. This bill allows for no exceptions for rape or incest. The sole exception is the life of the mother. I tried to scan this bill and was confused by some of the language. According to the writing of the bill, abortions should be regulated after a heartbeat is detected. It seems to be regulating abortion after six weeks, rather than banning it even then. But it does impose criminal penalties on abortion doctors who kill a baby even if they find a heartbeat. I’ve attached the document of this legislation, should you care to try and read it. This bill is the most restrictive, anti-abortion law that has been written so far. No state has ever passed it. The Heartbeat Bill would outlaw most abortions. Why? Many women don’t learn that they’re pregnant until after six weeks. THat’s according to experience and research.

Why is this Heartbeat Bill controversial even among pro-life people?

A Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
What If This Bill Becomes Law?

Not all prolifers embrace the Heartbeat Bill. Most advocates in the pro-life movement seem to identify as “incrementalists.” This means that they reject sweeping changes as unrealistic. As much as they’d like to see the Heartbeat Bill become law, they know some things. These pro-life advocates know that abortion advocates, as well as Planned Parenthood, would fight such a bill. These abortion advocates would mount fierce legal challenges. All in the name of women’s human rights. Abortion is considered Constitutional. Hence the Heartbeat Bill is “unConstitutional.” Some prolifers cite “Constitutional issues.” They express concern that abortion advocate lawsuits would cost taxpayers much that should go to constructive measures. John Kasich is currently weighing all these considerations. Abolitionists, who oppose any incrementalism, don’t support this bill. Why? Because they demand an outright ban. Right now! So, no matter where people stand, the Heartbeat Bill evokes strong feelings in any of us. But is it actually unConstitutional?

Do we all recall that abortion was legalized only some 40 years ago? And note that the Constitution has been around much longer? Need I say more?

A Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
Standing with Women or Babies?

Stand with women! Protect the rights of women! Don’t take our rights away! We hear abortion advocates frame abortion in the name of women’s “rights.” And I certainly want us women to have our rights. It’s the very reason that I so strongly objected to Donald Trump, from the beginning. This is why I reacted as I did to his election victory. Women’s true rights is why something in me recoils when prolifers come off as insensitive to women, their concerns and their needs. What will it take before abortion advocates will see that abortion does not serve the true, long-term needs of women? Online, I see abortion memes that declare: “Stand With Women!” I see pro-life memes that declare: “Stand With Babies!” Inside, I want to cry, “Why can’t we stand with both? As long as babies’ rights and women’s rights are pitted against each other, abortion will stay divisive. Our culture will always impose a code of silence around it. Alternatives and efforts to strengthen them, can win women over. Efforts to reach out to women with alternatives protects babies just as much as lobbying against abortion can. What if the Heartbeat Bill does not pass in Ohio? What if it doesn’t become law in all 50 states? Always, we can use resources, awareness, and time to offer women alternatives!

A Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?
How We Pro-lifers Should Approach This

Will the Heartbeat Bill pass? We don’t know. I rather doubt it. In the past, the Ohio Governor has reportedly expressed concerns about it. According to him, it has Constitutional issues and would be challenged in lower courts. In that case, Ohioans would have to foot the bill for legal challenges that abortion advocates would mount. Whether this bill becomes law in Ohio, or anywhere else, we should still strive to end abortion. We do it not just by working the supply side (demanding restrictions or a ban). We’ve got to deal with the demand side. That’s what pregnancy resource centers do. They seek to help women and do all they can to provide alternatives. Alternatives to make abortion unthinkable! Even if abortion were outright banned, PRCs would be needed. These centers would be as essential as ever. Without them, we’d see women use coat hangers and other devices to perform their own abortions. This must not be. And it need not be. Let’s work both the supply side and the demand side!

Visit here and see what you can do to help make abortion unthinkable!

***UPDATE***: This evening, Dec. 13, reports stated that John Kasich, the Ohio Governor, made his decisions. He vetoed the Heartbeat Bill, which isn’t surprising. But he signed into law another prolife bill, the Pain-Capable Act. This bans abortions after 20 weeks.

The actual text of this bill is available in pdf format and can be downloaded here.

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Heartbeat Bill: Unconstitutional?

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