Pennsylvania Lawmakers Introduce ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bill

A pro-life, anti-abortion and pro-family activist displays a rubber foetus during a "March for Family" within the World Congress of Families (WCF) conference on March 31, 2019 in Verona. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Pennsylvania lawmakers in the Republican-led state legislature introduced a “heartbeat” abortion bill Monday that would ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected, generally between the sixth and seventh week of pregnancy.

“When you hear a baby’s heartbeat, everything changes,” said State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R) during a news conference. “If you can be declared dead when the heart stops, why not declared alive when it starts?”

Borowicz joined State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) in fulfilling their promise to introduce legislation — Senate Bill 912 and House Bill 1977 — that would provide the U.S. Supreme Court another opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the report, Ashley Lenker White, executive director of Planned Parenthood PA Advocates, said the legislation is “a waste of taxpayer time and money.”

“This bill is nothing but another unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion in Pennsylvania,” she said.

Courts have blocked the “heartbeat” laws of other states from going into effect.

However, Kathy Barnette, a pro-life Fox News personality who has shared her story that she was conceived when her mother was raped, said the basis of abortion is eugenics and an attempt to eliminate the black population, reported the Inquirer.

“Lynching got nothing on Planned Parenthood,” Barnette said. “What slavery could not do in 200 years, and what Jim Crow laws could not do in 100 years, abortion and organizations like Planned Parenthood have succeeded in annihilating whole generations of black people.”

Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf, an abortion rights champion, has vowed to veto the legislation. He said in a press statement:

Let me be clear: I will veto any abortion ban that is put on my desk. The latest bill, a six-week abortion ban, defies all practical understanding of modern women’s health care. These policies run counter to the notion of individual freedom and lack a sound scientific basis. Further, as we have seen in other states, these policies are detrimental to efforts to attract and retain businesses, entrepreneurs and workers.

“My administration is committed to reducing maternal mortality and giving women, children and families the support that they need to succeed,” the governor continued. “This should be our focus, not regressive policies that make it harder for vulnerable people making difficult and deeply personal decisions.”

However, in mentioning “maternal mortality,” Wolf appeared to be tapping into false claims spread by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, and now showing up in some of the 2020 Democrats’ statements, that “thousands of women died” prior to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and that “women will die” if abortion is made illegal once more.

The claim has reached feverish pitch since the pro-life Trump administration has now appointed two Supreme Court justices who intend to interpret the Constitution as it was originally written.

However, Planned Parenthood’s own fact sheets tell a very different story.

The abortion industry giant states:

In 1965, when abortion was still illegal nationwide except in cases of life endangerment, at least 193 women died from illegal abortions, and illegal abortion accounted for nearly 17 percent of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth in that year (Gold, 1990; NCHS, 1967).

The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute also reported:

By 1950, illegal abortion deaths fell to “just over 300,” likely “because of the introduction of antibiotics in 1940s, which permitted more effective treatment of the infections frequently developed after illegal abortion.”

By 1965, “the number of deaths due to illegal abortion had fallen to just under 200.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 1972, the year before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe, 24 women died from legal induced abortion — legal in a handful of states in which abortion in some very limited cases was permitted — and 39 women died from illegal abortion.

In 1973, when the Supreme Court created a right to abortion, CDC reported 19 deaths from illegal abortions and 25 deaths from legal abortions.

Though abortion reporting measures have not been consistent — leading to differing results — none of the reports gave the indication that “thousands” of women died in illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade.

As pro-life organization Live Action reported, NARAL founder and former abortionist Bernard Nathanson admitted he and others fabricated large numbers of deaths from illegal abortions prior to the high court’s decision in Roe.

According to the report, in his 1979 book, Aborting America, Nathanson called the “thousands” claim a “nice, round, shocking figure.”

Life News reported Nathanson said of the fabrication, “[I]n the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?”

Abortion industry leaders and their political allies, however, are still suggesting “women will die” if abortion is banned. The fact is, women still die during “legal” abortions and “thousands” of unborn children die each year because abortion is not banned.

Wolf’s nod to “maternal mortality” hearkens back to another false claim: that maternal mortality rates increased in Texas after funding cuts to Planned Parenthood clinics.

This claim is still being repeated by abortion advocates and their allies in politics and the media despite having been debunked about two years ago.

“We know what happens when our health centers are forced to close around the country,” ousted Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen told NowThisNews in May. “In Texas, 30,000 women went without access to care. Maternal mortality rates increased”:

The Washington Post published a fact check with the headline, “No, maternal mortality did not spike in Texas after funding cuts to abortion clinics.”

Glenn Kessler at the Post conducted the fact check following Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-VA) comments in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

Beyer stated:

Anti-abortion bills increase maternal mortality and infant mortality. Texas is the best case. The reported rate of maternal deaths in Texas doubled when the state closed their abortion clinics and cut funding for Planned Parenthood. The fact is that if Texas was a country it would have the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world.

However, the data cited by Beyer on the alleged increased maternal deaths in Texas has now been shown to be flawed.

The study claimed the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Texas had suddenly doubled, and abortion supporters and their media allies added the spin that the “doubling” was due to Texas’s defunding of Planned Parenthood.

As Kessler explained, Marian MacDorman conducted the flawed study on MMR in Texas that generated the claim. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Obstetrics and Gynecology (ObGyn).

The Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force found errors in the original study and corrected the 2012 data from 38.4 deaths per 100,000 live births to 14.6 per 100,000 live births.

In 2017, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) scholars James Studnicki and John Fisher had already debunked the MacDorman study, exposing its flawed methodology, and informed ObGyn months before the Texas Task Force report.

CLI President Chuck Donovan commented:

Total maternal deaths in Texas were less than half what MacDorman concluded in her heralded study – 56 deaths, rather than 147. Moreover, Texas had experienced a spike in maternal deaths almost a decade earlier, and California had experienced an even larger one, facts MacDorman’s study had obscured because of its failure to apply a mathematical adjustment to historical data across the board.

In January, a Marist poll found 75 percent of Americans favor substantial restrictions on abortion, including 60 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of those who identify as “pro-choice.”

According to that poll, 75 percent of Americans say abortion should be limited to — at most — the first three months of pregnancy. Among those who identify as Republicans, 92 percent want that restriction, as do 78 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats. Perhaps most significantly, 61 percent of those who identify as “pro-choice” share that view.

The survey found 65 percent of Americans say if the Supreme Court revisits Roe v. Wade, the high court should either return the issue of the legality of abortion to the states (49 percent) or outlaw the procedure altogether (16 percent). Only 30 percent of those surveyed would prefer that the Supreme Court rule in favor of unrestricted abortion.

Another Marist poll released in February found the number of Democrats now identifying as “pro-life” shifted from 20 percent to 34 percent following recent abortion legislation in states such as New York, which lifted restrictions on the procedure. The number of “pro-choice” Democrats shifted downward from 75 percent to 61 percent.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 18,507 of the 30,011 abortions performed in 2017 in the state were conducted at eight weeks gestation or less.

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