Pennsylvania lawmakers recently introduced legislation that would make abortion illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Republican Senator Doug Mastriano and Republican State Representative Stephanie Borowicz presented the bill to Congress on Oct. 21.
The act known as the Heartbeat Bill has already been passed in ten other U.S. states, the most recent being Georgia in May of this year.
Shelby Jimcosky, the president of the Feminist Alliance at ESU told the courier that bills like this do not just prohibit abortions, they prohibit safe abortions.
“People will continue to have abortions in unsafe conditions when bills like this are passed”, Jimcosky said, “The bill is an infringement on reproductive rights and will jeopardize healthcare”.
Additionally, Jimcosky stated that the name, “Heartbeat Bill” invokes false images in people’s minds about fetal development.
According to world-renowned Gynecologist, author, and New York Times columnist Jennifer Gunter, there are no heartbeats in the first six weeks. Instead, there is a 4-millimeter wide growth known as the fetal pole.
“It’s the latest strategy that’s been implemented by those who call themselves the pro-life movement,” said Dr. Marianne Cutler, a professor of Sociology and affiliate of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at ESU.
According to Cutler, this bill is simply the latest turn in the tactical game that has been playing out between the pro-life and pro-choice movements since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Cutler added that initially, the pro-life movement unsuccessfully attempted to have Roe v. Wade overturned altogether.
“Now, rather than trying to get Roe v. Wade overturned all at once, those who oppose reproductive rights have been doing various things to chip away at them,” she said.
According to Cutler, these “chipping away” tactics implemented by the pro-life movement include parental consent, waiting periods, and now the heartbeat bill.
The legislation has also provoked a response from Planned Parenthood P.A. Advocates. Executive Director Ashley Lenker White took to twitter, stating that banning abortion after six weeks bans abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant.
White also added that the bill is yet another unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion in Pennsylvania.
Rep. Stephanie Borowicz defended her position on the issue in an article by Reagan McCarthy, a journalist for Townhall.
“When you hear a baby’s heartbeat, everything changes,” Borowicz said. “If you can be declared dead when the heart stops, why not declared alive when it starts?”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf also took to Twitter to state his position on the issue. Wolf stated adamantly that the bill would not make it past his desk. A day after the legislation was introduced, Wolf tweeted that Pennsylvania would not become the next state to ban abortion and that he would veto the bill if necessary.
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