Heartbeat Laws

Alexandra Fry, reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Young people today have been fortunate enough to reap the rewards of feminist movements in the 20th century.
Girls today have been born with rights inconceivable a century ago. But no change comes without resistance, and sometimes it takes the threat of losing something to fully appreciate having it.
According to a 1973 Supreme Court ruling, women, under the ninth and 14th Amendments have a fundamental right to privacy, and the liberty to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy.
This ruling is Roe. vs. Wade.

The ruling has long since been met with widespread public attention. It has become a rallying call, a point of contention, and the theme of opinionated bumper stickers. It has been challenged, supported, restricted, and defended since its creation.

It’s the latest threat in a legislative phenomenon called heartbeat bills. Currently circulating in 15 state Senates, it has been passed in eight states: Ohio, Utah, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The heartbeat legislation would make this already difficult and heavily politicized process all but impossible, and is blatantly unconstitutional.
That is the point.

The logic behind six weeks is that “The full value of a child begins at the point when a detectable human heartbeat exists,” according to lines 12-13 of Georgia’s “Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act” now law.

By this logic, a human is an embryo half an inch in length that has yet to develop a beating heart.
The laws ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy when the authors of such bills believe a fetal heartbeat is detectable. Physicians dispute this.

Six weeks is before most women know they are pregnant.

Inaccessibility to abortion is nothing new. Conservative lawmakers have already created ample restrictions on abortion rights. In several states, there are only a handful of clinics that provide abortions.  Clinics are often shut down due to permitting laws and loss of state funding. It is difficult to impossible for many women to even get to them.

That is if a woman doesn’t fall victim to a crisis pregnancy center, organizations that claim to help women with unplanned pregnancies, but use unethical tactics to persuade women against abortion.
Once a woman has gotten to a clinic that provides abortions, she may face protesters yelling insults outside while exercising her right. Many states also require a woman to first have a counseling session.
States get to choose what information a woman receives during these sessions that often are designed to dissuade women from seeking abortions.

Typically, 24 hours must then elapse before the procedure can be performed.
The exact logistics of this new legislation differ by state.  Georgia would include fetus’ in population counts; Ohio makes no xceptions for victims of rape and incest.

As declared by titles such as “Protection from Abortion” or “Stands for the Unborn” these laws give fetuses more rights and protection than the women carrying them. This legislation is also unpopular among the people in the states where they are now in effect. According to the Huffington Post, Alabama’s law has only a 19 percent strong approval rating.  Majority male lawmakers have made it clear there is no length they won’t go to to achieve their ultimate goal.

Overturn Roe vs. Wade once and for all.

With a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, anti-abortion advocates are confident that challengers to fetal heartbeat laws will bring the perfect opportunity to rid their states, if not the country, of Roe vs. Wade.

Protesting the threat to their rights, women have talked, tweeted, demonstrated, and called for a sex strike.While activism is wonderful and necessary, it is unlikely holding a sign, or reenacting Lysistrata will manage to solve this issue. The truth is, there is no sure fire way to solve this. Nor is there a sure fire way for conservatives to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Like abortion itself, it is a topic that elicits many opinions and no definitive answer.