Idaho Senate Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heart Begins Beating

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 19, 2021   |   7:24AM   |   Boise, Idaho

An Idaho bill that would protect unborn babies once their heartbeats are detectable is on its way to the state Senate for a vote.

On Wednesday, the state Senate State Affairs Committee voted to advance the Fetal Heartbeat Preborn Child Protection Act (Senate Bill 1183) for a full vote, the AP reports.

“Help protect preborn human life in the womb,” pro-life advocate Samantha Doty told the committee. Doty is the director of clinical services at Stanton Healthcare, a chain of pro-life healthcare facilities that provides free services to women in need and aims to replace Planned Parenthood.

The bill prohibits abortions on unborn babies once their heartbeat is detectable, typically about six weeks of pregnancy. It allows exceptions for victims of rape and mothers whose lives are at risk. Abortionists who violate the legislation could be punished with potential jail time.

“Legal standards and the medical community at large both affirm that a consistent human heartbeat, independent of life support, is a core determining factor in establishing the legal presence of human life,” the bill states. Once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected, the baby has a 95-percent chance of surviving to term, it continues.

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Here’s more from the report:

Blaine Conzatti, executive director of the anti-abortion organization Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, told the Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday that the bill was “crafted to be defensible if needed.” In the past, the Idaho legislature has passed several laws aimed at banning or limiting abortion access, and many of them have been overturned by the federal courts.

“We are not saying that life begins with the heartbeat,” Conzatti said. “We’re simply saying that the heartbeat is a universally recognized indicator of life … that unique and distinct person should be legally protected.”

After the hearing, abortion activists with the ACLU of Idaho and Planned Parenthood complained that the committee chairwoman did not give them time to speak, according to the report. The two groups likely will sue Idaho if the bill passes.

Heartbeat bills are being considered all across the country. The AP reports 12 states either have passed or are considering the pro-life legislation.

The Texas Senate held a hearing on a similar heartbeat bill this week, and South Carolina passed a heartbeat law in February.

Even more states have passed heartbeat laws in recent years, but all have been banned from enforcing them due to legal challenges by abortion activist groups. States with heartbeat laws include Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Tennessee.

Americans support strong limits on abortion. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

Though a majority of the justices are Republican appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts has sided with the liberal justices on a number of occasions.

In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.