Pennsylvania Lawmakers Propose Bill to Ban Abortion After Point of Fetal Heartbeat Detection

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A group of lawmakers in Pennsylvania has proposed legislation that would ban abortions after the point at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected, approximately six weeks of pregnancy.

The bill has been introduced as the state’s primary election approaches Tuesday.

“You may have heard the slogan that ‘Abortion stops a beating heart,’” Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, who wrote the bill, said in a memo to fellow lawmakers, reports CNH1. He added that, under his proposal, “a beating heart will stop abortion.”

The bill is patterned after one signed into law last week by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R). Planned Parenthood tweeted its condemnation of the new law:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat seeking re-election, has already said he would veto the measure if it passes the General Assembly.

In December, pro-abortion rights Wolf vetoed a bill that would have banned late-term dismemberment abortions during which a live unborn child’s limbs are ripped off, one by one, in order to end its life. The bill would have also banned abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Wolf called the dismemberment bill “extreme” and “restrictive” for women. He said regarding the fetal heartbeat abortion ban, “This new bill is even more extreme than the bill I stopped last year, and I will do everything in my power to stop this dangerous and unconscionable attack on women’s health care”:

Wolf received praise and appreciation from Planned Parenthood for his veto last year:

State Sen. Scott Wagner, the GOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, would support the fetal heartbeat detection measure, Andrew Romeo, his campaign spokesman said.

“Scott is pro-life,” he said. “He has a 100 percent pro-life voting record that has been praised by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and as governor he would continue to fight for the rights of the unborn, which would include supporting the heartbeat bill.”

Laura Ellsworth, who is challenging Wagner, said that while she is pro-life, she would not support the heartbeat bill because she does not believe it would hold up to a constitutional challenge.

“As governor, I would focus on pro-life legislation that would withstand constitutional challenge, including the existing legislation that bans abortion after 20 weeks and bans abortion in the case of children with Down Syndrome,” Ellsworth said in the statement.

Paul Mango, another Republican challenger, declined to say whether he would support the heartbeat legislation.

“Paul is committed to fostering a culture of life in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” his campaign said, reports CNH1. “He believes life begins at conception and he will vigorously support legislation advancing life.”

The Pennsylvania primary election is May 15.


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