Pro-life congressmen stood in front of the Capitol — along with Janet Porter, the Ohio woman who led the fight for passage of that state’s “heartbeat bill” — all in support of Rep. Steve A. King (R.-Iowa) and his Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, H.R. 490, which restores legal protection to unborn children once their pulse is detected.
“It is a profound religious and moral understanding that every human person has the right to life,” said King, who was joined by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Texas), Rep. Trent Franks (R.-Ariz.), Rep. Scott G. Perry (R.-Pa.), and Rep.Don Bacon R.-Neb.), along with other prolife supporters of the bill.
“The question that has hung before the courts, since 1973 is: ‘When does life begin?’–we all know when that is,” the congressman said.
“We stand here and assert that it has to be a distinctive moment. You can’t guess a thing called viability. You can’t say 22 weeks versus 20 weeks. You have to say it is at a specific instant. The most precise instant that we can describe and that we can identify by science is the moment that that heartbeat begins,” he said.
“The core tenet is this: If a heartbeat can be detected, the baby is protected,” he said.
King, who is the chairman of the Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, said the only exception to the protection for the unborn in the bill is for those circumstances when the life of the mother is in physical danger.
Abortionists who violate the law would face up to five years in prison, he said.
Porter, who is the founder and leader of Faith2Action, told Breitbart News she started fighting for the Ohio heartbeat bill on St. Valentine’s Day 2011, and in December it passed the Ohio House and Senate, but it was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich.
The governor signed a bill that protected unborn children at the 20-week mark, which is about the point when the child has the nerve development to feel pain, she said.
“He signed the pain bill, which saves 125 babies every year, but he vetoed the heartbeat bill that would have protected 20,000 every year,” she said. The heartbeat bill is set to be re-introduced in the Ohio legislature this year.
“We had the votes to override, but unfortunately, not every Republican was willing to return from their Christmas vacation to vote,” she said. “We are reintroducing the bill in Ohio; it has also been introduced in 17 other states. It has passed in three, Arkansas, North Dakota and Ohio.”
The support for the bill is now sufficient for the concept to go national with a federal law, she said.
“Just four days ago, we heard President Trump say that we are going to make America safe again. What this bill does, what the heartbeat bill will do is make America safe again–the first step is to make America safeid for every child with a heartbeat,” she said.
Porter told Breitbart News the idea for a federal law came out of a conversation she had with King at Phyllis Schlafly‘s funeral in September.
“I remembered the words that Phyllis told me about Congressman King, how much she respected and revered him–and I do as well; he is a leader who will not compromise,” she said.
Father Stephen Imbarrato, a pastoral associate of Priests For Life, told Breitbart News he expects the heartbeat bill to be very controversial on Capitol Hill.
“I really feel that these difficult bills that we have been hesitant to bring forward in the past are such an opportunity for us to educate the constituents, the people of American, about what is really going on in terms of killing our unborn brothers and sisters in the womb and actually wounding the hearts of so many women,” he said. “It is going to be a difficult fight, but it is a fight that we have to have,” he added.
Larry Cirignano, the Washington representative of the Children First Foundation — the group behind “Choose Life” license plates in New York, Washington, New Jersey, and Connecticut that raise money for adoptions — told Breitbart News he is encouraged by President Donald J. Trump’s embrace of the pro-life agenda and he is sure the president would sign the bill.
“President Trump has said we have to be bold and we have to get away from this idea that we can protect an infant after it’s born alive or when it feels pain–all the incremental steps–every baby, every day should be protected,” he said.