The Idaho legislature passed a pro-life bill today to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable. The new measure is a revised version of legislation the panel previously passed that corrects a wording error.
Sponsored by state Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Caldwell, and Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, the bill would prohibit abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed for rape, incest or threats to the mother’s life.
A number of 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. So this bill contains a trigger provision that would take effect only if a court in the U.S. upholds another heartbeat law.
Blaine Conzatti, executive director of Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, appluaded passage.
“Thanks to modern medical technology, every new parent now knows the excitement of first hearing their son or daughter’s heartbeat during early prenatal check-ups. This explains why a reputable national poll found that nearly 70 percent of Americans – including 55 percent of Democrats – support this life-affirming legislation,” Conzatti said.
“The Idaho Heartbeat Bill is constitutionally, scientifically, and morally sound. Governor Brad Little should sign this Heartbeat Bill and recommit Idaho as a pro-life state leading the charge in offering legal protection for its youngest and most defenseless residents. Preborn babies with beating hearts deserve the same constitutional right to life accorded to any other living person.”
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“The medical community has found that 95 percent of preborn children with a fetal heartbeat detected early in the pregnancy will survive to term. Obstetricians consider fetal heart activity to be an important milestone in prenatal development and routinely run tests to determine heartrate as an important indicator of a preborn child’s health,” the pro-life advocate explained.
The South Carolina and Texas legislatures also are considering heartbeat bills this year along with the state of Oklahoma.
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.