LegalWorks Apostolate - Counsel for a Culture of Life

The Heart of the Matter

By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge

This morning (March 2, 2011) history was made in Ohio when the State House Health Committee "heard testimony" offered by two pre-born babies. Yes, you read correctly. During a hearing on HB 125 (known as the "Heartbeat Bill") ultra sound images of two in-utero babies were projected on a screen for all to see. Committee members and others were able to see the babies' arms and legs moving as well as colored images of their beating hearts. One of the pre-born babies is only nine weeks.

Sponsored by Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), HB 125 was introduced on February 24th with 50 co-sponsors and it "generally prohibit[s] an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat." With fetal heartbeat being detectable sometime between 18 -24 days after conception, HB 125 would effectively ban most abortions in Ohio.

Although Ohio is the first state to introduce such legislation, Janet Folger Porter, president of Faith2Action and former Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life, says, "it won't be the last." Porter says "this is the spark that is going to ignite the wildfire of pro-life protective legislation across the country." Apparently there are at least 5 other states (Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas) interested in introducing similar bills.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood?s Southwest Ohio Region, Becki Brenner, says the bill "won't pass Constitutional review because it goes against Roe vs. Wade."

Supporters of the bill are acutely aware that there will be court challenges if HB 125 passes. They are willing to take it all the way to the Supreme Court and as Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School professor and long time abortion proponent claims, it is "clearly a frontal challenge to Roe v. Wade."

Not surprisingly, the pro-abortion crowd is frenetic. Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio told The Plain Dealer that having the ultrasound demonstration was a "stunt that trivializes women's health." Copeland also referred to the hearing as an "absolute circus." That's quite a statement that must be from the "if you can't attack the message, attack the messenger" school of debate. I guess if you see nothing wrong with killing a tiny human being in her mother's womb, the public demonstration of an actual pre-born baby's beating heart is so devastating to your defense of that killing that it reduces your argument to silliness.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America told ABC News that the Ohio legislators "are making decisions for women in banning abortion basically before some women even know they are pregnant." That's an interesting admission, albeit a tacit one, by Keenan. She is acknowledging that a pre-born baby's heart is beating before her mother is even aware she is in her womb.

The pro-abortion blogosphere has been in an uproar since the bill was introduced. Some are calling it a "sideshow," "lame," "shameless PR stunt," "mockery of the legal system," "dumbest thing ever," "utterly disgusting," and "an unprecedented attack on women's bodily autonomy."

Writing on AlterNet on January 28, 2011, Robin Marty (who also writes for the pro-abortion Reality Check) refers to the "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart" billboards as being somehow "misleading." Although she never explains why the billboards are "misleading," she goes on to claim "the same twisted logic lies behind Heartbeat Bill."

While Marty never explains her claim, she obviously understands the significance of the bill as she writes, "It would take away many of the major arguments that pro-choice activists were able to use to fight the 'Personhood' movement without basing their argument solely on the right to an abortion."

I guess being faced with undeniable evidence that the tiny human being in a woman's womb has a beating heart is just too much for abortion apologists to accept. They know the truth, but if the general public becomes aware of it, support for abortion on demand will continue to decline.

How many people are aware that a pre-born baby?s heart can be detected as early as 18 days? As Alan Murnane, M.D., an Ob/Gyn practicing in Ohio, has said, "for parents, the heartbeat is tangible proof that the baby is alive."

Whether or not the Heartbeat Bill is passed and survives judicial challenge, it looks like its mere presence is already educating people and changing the debate. And, that's the heart of the matter!

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