In a rather disturbing move that appears to be right out of Margaret Atwood’s wildly popular dystopian classic “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Republicans are now aiming at legislation that would take away women’s right to get an abortion before they even realize they are pregnant.
After voting to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the GOP now wants to restrict abortion access even further. Earlier this year, the GOP introduced “H.R. 490: Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017,” which would prohibit women from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy – that’s around when most women find out they are going to be a mother.
The bill, sponsored by racist Iowa Rep. Steven King – the man who once made headlines for suggesting only white babies can “restore” Western civilization, criminalizes abortion after the first detection of a fetal heartbeat.
BREAKING: GOP announce hearing on bill to ban abortion at 6 weeks--before many women find out they're pregnant. pic.twitter.com/NryAqbyqRo— James Owens (@JamesDakinOwens) October 25, 2017
“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 January press release. “My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”
A physician who performs the procedure either without determining “whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat” or “after determining that a fetus has a detectable heartbeat” would be subject to fine and five years of prison term, according to the proposed bill.
What is even worse is that there are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest – which should not come as a surprise, considering how conservatives have always targeted women and their rights.
The only exception, however, are women suffering from life-threatening physical disabilities or illnesses. It is also important to note the bill specifically mentions how it will not exempt women struggling with mental and psychological disorders.
Moreover, as the HuffPost explained, the term “fetal heartbeat” is a little deceptive. The cardiac activity exhibited at six weeks happens in the fetal pole, which “is between the two markers and is a thickening at the end of the yolk sac (the yolk sac is the circular blob).”
A house judiciary committee will hold a hearing to discuss the bill on Nov. 1. Although the chances of this draconian bill ending up on President Donald Trump’s desk are rather slim, the sheer injustice to women is extremely important to highlight.
“The GOP’s crazy obsession with banning all abortions in this country knows no end, no boundary, and no common sense. Their latest crazy, and clearly unconstitutional, idea is a ban that applies to women who don’t even know they’re pregnant yet, intentionally preventing them from accessing care altogether,” Sasha Bruce, NARAL Pro-Choice America Senior Vice President, said in a statement. “Instead of wasting taxpayer money pursuing ideas meant only to pander to their shrinking base, Congress should focus their attention on the numerous crises this country faces, many largely caused by the Republican Party’s inability to govern.”
Previously, Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar bill in Ohio.
Thumbnail / Banner : Reuters, Brian Snyder