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Fetal heartbeat bills by state, including time limit without exceptions marked:
  Heartbeat bill passed (to go into effect)
  Law partially passed by state legislature
  Law blocked by court order

A heartbeat bill or fetal heartbeat bill is a controversial form of abortion restriction legislation[1] in the United States which makes abortions illegal as soon as the embryonic or fetal heartbeat can be detected.[2][3]

In 2013, North Dakota became the first state to pass a heartbeat law. That law was struck down as unconstitutional under the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Several states proposed heartbeat bills in 2018 and 2019; as of May 2019, such bills had passed in Ohio, Georgia, and Missouri. In 2019, Alabama passed a law that was similar to a heartbeat law, but was more expansive; it outlawed abortion at any stage of pregnancy with no exceptions for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.[4] Heartbeat laws in Iowa, Kentucky and Mississippi have been struck down by courts.[5] According to CNN, heartbeat bills "may be unenforceable [under Roe]. But abortion opponents are hoping that [legal challenges] will serve as a vehicle for the Supreme Court to eventually overturn the Roe ruling."[6]

A fetal heartbeat can be detected at about six to seven weeks of pregnancy,[nb 1] but may not be detectable until 12 weeks' gestation when a Doppler fetal monitor is used.[9] Many women who are pregnant remain unaware of their pregnancies at six weeks from their last period.[10][11] Most women who have an abortion do so after six weeks' gestation.[12] Abortion-rights activists contend that because of this, the fetal heartbeat bills are de facto bans on abortion in the majority of cases.[13][14]

Contents

Controversy

There exists some controversy surrounding fetal heartbeat laws because no one is exactly sure when the earliest point is at which a conceptus's heartbeat can be detected. In 2013, when the Wyoming House of Representatives considered a heartbeat bill, Norine Kasperik "noted that...she heard different answers [as] to when a heartbeat is detectable. To her, there seemed to be variation by medical equipment used." Similarly, Mary Throne inquired, "Is this abortion illegal at 22 days with a highly invasive ultrasound or is it illegal at 9 weeks when we hear a heartbeat with a stethoscope?"[15] Furthermore, some critics of these bills have claimed that they ignore that not all conceptuses' heartbeats become detectable at the same time, even when measured using the same methods.[16]

On a similar note, the Center for Reproductive Rights has stated that there is some inconsistency with regard to these laws; specifically, the Arkansas law requires providers to use an abdominal ultrasound to attempt to detect a fetal heartbeat, while the North Dakota law allows the use of any available technology (including a transvaginal probe, which makes it possible to detect a fetal heartbeat earlier than an abdominal ultrasound can).[17] With specific regard to the North Dakota law, detecting a conceptus' heartbeat at six weeks into a pregnancy requires the use of a transvaginal ultrasound, which some members of the abortion-rights movement say is unnecessarily invasive.[18] Furthermore, while the anti-abortion movement claims that bills mandating a woman listen to her conceptus' heartbeat would increase the likelihood of them changing their mind, the abortion-rights community, with the support of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, opposes "informed-consent" bills because they threaten to, if passed, "significantly jeopardize the open dialogue within the physician-patient relationship."[19][clarification needed][better source needed]

Some critics also challenge the wording in heartbeat bills as misleading and inaccurate.[20] The use of the term "fetal" instead of "embryonic" has been criticized, since "fetal" medically implies that the conceptus is at least eight weeks old.[21][22]

The leading activist for the passage of heartbeat legislation, and the author of the original 2011 Ohio House Bill 493,[23] was anti-abortion activist Janet Porter. Porter is the founder of conservative Christian ministry Faith2Action,[24] which, in 2018, was designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[25][20]

Constitutionality

Furthermore, some critics of fetal heartbeat bills say that, since Roe v. Wade established that abortion is legal until the point of viability (between 24 and 28 weeks into the pregnancy), that such bills "blatantly contradict" Supreme Court precedent. As Governor Mike Beebe said regarding the Arkansas 12-week ban mentioned below, "because it would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability, Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court...When I was sworn in as governor I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously."[26] A 2013 North Dakota heartbeat law was found "clearly invalid and unconstitutional based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade."[27]

Accuracy of terms

 
Embryonic tubular heart (illustrated at 5 weeks)

Some critics challenge the wording in the bills as misleading and inaccurate,[20] stating it is not accurate to term the activity of the embryonic tubular heart a "fetal heartbeat", as at that stage the conceptus is still only an embryo. Medically, the term "embryonic" is used up to around eight weeks after fertilization, and "fetal" from the beginning of the ninth week.[22]

Jennifer Keats, an ob-gyn at University of California, San Francisco, describes the cardiac activity as "a group of cells with electrical activity. That’s what the heartbeat is at that stage of gestation … We are in no way talking about any kind of cardiovascular system.”[28] In the medical literature the terms "heartbeat", "heart activity" and "cardiac activity" are all used during embryonic development.[29][30][31]

"Informed consent" laws

A related though distinct type of law is that introduced at the state level in all 50 states in the US in October 2011, which would require any woman seeking an abortion to see and hear their conceptus's heartbeat. Supporters included the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans United for Life, and the Susan B. Anthony List.[32] Another such bill was introduced in Texas, and, after getting approved by an appeals court, was criticized by Sam Sparks, who said, "The concept that the government may make puppets out of doctors, provided it does not step on their patients’ rights, is not one this Court believes is consistent with the Constitution, in the abortion context or otherwise."[33] A similar type of legislation, the "Heartbeat Informed Consent Act", was introduced at the national level around the same time by Michele Bachmann, however, it died in committee.[34] Another law of this variety, introduced by Sharon Weston Broome, was passed by legislators in Louisiana in 2012, as an amendment to a 2010 bill requiring women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound of their conceptus.[35] Similar laws have been passed in states such as Georgia in 2005;[36] and a law that mandated both an ultrasound of the fetus and listening to its heartbeat before an abortion could be procured was laid on the table in 2012 in Pennsylvania.[37] This last bill became controversial when Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania's governor, stated that "You just have to close your eyes" and dismissed accusations that the bill would be unnecessarily obtrusive.[38]

"Informed consent" laws requiring women seeking abortions to have the physician play a recording of her conceptus' heartbeat have met with challenges in court, notably in Texas, when the CRR filed a lawsuit against it, leading to a court case entitled Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey. Prior to Sam Sparks condemning the law in January 2012, however, a federal district court had ruled that the law violated the First Amendment in August 2011. This decision was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, led by Edith Jones. Another similar law was challenged in North Carolina in Stuart v. Huff, in which a federal district court ruled that the law was in violation of the First Amendment. This case, unlike the one in Texas, has not yet been appealed.[39] This has led to some debate among different anti-abortion groups regarding strategy; specifically, while some of these groups, like the Kansas Coalition for Life, have supported the passing of this legislation, others, like Kansans for Life, are concerned that "enacting a fetal heartbeat ban would prompt a court ruling undoing some limits on abortion and providers."[40] Likewise, Paul Linton, former general counselor for AUL, has argued that fetal heartbeat laws "have no chance in the courts." He, like most mainstream anti-abortion advocates (including James Bopp), prefers instead a legislative strategy that chips away at Roe v. Wade.[17]

States

Summary table

Legislative history

State Session Bill Lower house Upper house Executive Status
  Alabama 2014 HB 490 Passed 73–29 Died in committee Failed
2019 HB 314 Passed 74–3 Passed 25–7 Signed Effective November 16, 2019
  Arkansas 2013 SB 134 Passed 68–20 Passed 26–8 Vetoed Struck down by federal court
Overrode 56–33 Overrode 20–14
  Florida 2019 HB 235 Introduced
SB 792 Introduced
  Georgia 2019 HB 481 Passed 92–78 Passed 34–18 Signed Effective January 1, 2020
  Iowa 2018 SF 359 Passed 51–46 Passed 29–17 Signed Struck down by state court
  Kentucky 2019 SB 9 Passed 71–19 Passed 31–6 Signed Temporarily blocked by federal court
  Louisiana 2019 SB 184 Passed 79–23 Passed 31–5 Signed Effective if Mississippi law (currently blocked)
is upheld by federal court[41]
  Maryland 2019 HB 933 Introduced
HB 978 Introduced
  Minnesota 2019 HF 271 Introduced
  Mississippi 2019 SB 2116 Passed 78–37 Passed 34–14 Signed Temporarily blocked by federal court[42]
  Missouri 2019 HB 126 Passed 117–39 Passed 24–10 Signed Effective August 28, 2019
   North Dakota 2013 HB 1456 Passed 63–28 Passed 26–17 Signed Struck down by federal court
  Ohio 2016 HB 493 Passed 56–39 Passed 21–10 Vetoed Failed
2018 HB 258 Passed 58–35 Passed 18–13 Vetoed Failed
Overrode 61–28 Failed to override
2019 SB 23 Passed 56–40 Passed 19–13 Signed Temporarily blocked by federal court[43]
  Pennsylvania 2018 HB 2315 Died in committee
  South Carolina 2019–20 HB 3020 Passed 64–22 Intention to sign[44]
  Tennessee 2019 HB 77 Passed 65–21 Indefinitely postponed
  Texas 2019 HB 1500 Introduced
  West Virginia 2019 HB 2903 Introduced
HB 2915 Introduced
  Wyoming 2013 HB 97 Died in committee Failed

Laws passed

State Time limit Exceptions after limit Effective date
  Alabama Abortion outlawed The only exceptions that permit abortion are:[45]
  • to avert the mother's death
  • to avert serious risk of substantial physical impairment to the mother of a major bodily function, not to include emotional/mental damage
November 16, 2019
  Georgia Six (6) weeks The only exceptions that permit abortion after the time limit are:[46]
  • "to prevent the death of the pregnant woman, as determined by a physician"
  • "to prevent the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman, not to include emotional/mental damage, as determined by a physician"
  • "in reasonable medical judgment, an unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth"
  • "in the case of a naturally occurring death of an unborn child, including a miscarriage or stillbirth"
  • "if pregnancy is the result of rape or incest in which an official police report has been filed alleging the offense of rape or incest" (prior to 20 week limit)
January 1, 2020
  Missouri Eight (8) weeks The only exceptions that permit abortion after the time limit are:[47][48]
  • to avert a pregnant woman's death
  • to avert a delay which will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman
August 28, 2019
  Ohio Six (6) weeks The only exceptions that permit abortion after the time limit are:[49]
  • "if the physician believes that a medical emergency... ...exists that prevents compliance"
  • if "the method used to determine the presence of a fetal heartbeat does not reveal a fetal heartbeat"
July 1, 2019

Alabama

House Bill 490 prohibiting abortions after a heartbeat can be detected was passed by a vote of 73–29 in the Alabama House on March 4, 2014. In doing so they became the first state to pass such a bill.[50] The bill later died in committee.[51]

In 2019, Alabama passed an abortion law that is more far-reaching than a heartbeat law.[52] On April 2, 2019, House Bill 314 banning abortions at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizing the procedure for doctors (except in the case of medical emergency or lethal fetal anomaly), was introduced into the House. The bill passed the House on April 30 (74–3),[53] passed the Senate on May 14,[54] and was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on May 16.[55]

Arkansas

A fetal heartbeat bill, banning abortion after twelve weeks, was passed on January 31, 2013 by the Arkansas Senate,[56] vetoed in Arkansas by Governor Mike Beebe, but, on March 6, 2013, his veto was overridden by the Arkansas House of Representatives.[26] A federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the Arkansas law in May 2013,[57] and in March 2014, it was struck down by federal judge Susan Webber Wright, who described the law as unconstitutional.[58]

Florida

Two fetal heartbeat bills have been filed in the Florida Legislature in 2019.[59]

Rep. Mike Hill filed a fetal heartbeat bill (HB 235) on January 10, 2019 in the Florida House of Representatives.[60] A companion bill (SB 792), was filed in the Florida Senate on February 6, 2019 by Sen. Dennis Baxley.[61] The bills, which are identical,[62] make it third-degree felony for a doctor who performs an abortion on a woman after a fetal heartbeat is detected,[63] unless the "woman has been diagnosed with a condition that would create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if the woman delayed terminating her pregnancy."[64] Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has pledged to sign legislation that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected.[65][66]

The 2019 Regular Legislative Session of the Florida legislature convenes on March 5, 2019.[67][68]

Georgia

Rep. Ed Setzler introduced HB 481 in the Georgia House of Representatives on February 25, 2019.[69] A similar bill is expected to be filed in the Georgia State Senate by Sen. Bruce Thompson soon.[70][71] During his campaign for Governor, Brian Kemp, now the Governor of Georgia, "vow[ed] to sign the toughest abortion laws in the country" and when asked about litigation said, "bring it! I'll fight for life at the Capitol and in the courtroom."[72] After being passed in the House on March 7, 2019, HB 481 was passed out of a Senate committee on March 18, 2019.[73][74] It was subsequently passed by the entire state Senate, after which it was narrowly passed by the House 92-78.[75] The bill was signed by Governor Kemp on May 7, 2019, bringing into effect one of the strictest abortion laws in the country at the time.[76]

The bill would prohibit abortions after a heartbeat can be detected in a conceptus, which is usually when a woman is six weeks pregnant.[11]

Two fetal heartbeat bills were previously filed in the Georgia General Assembly in 2015.

Democratic opponent of the Georgia bill, former governal candidate Stacey Abrams, called the bill a "forced pregnancy bill."[77]

Iowa

On May 4, 2018 governor Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that would ban abortion in Iowa after a fetal heartbeat is detected, starting July 1, 2018.[78] On January 22, 2019, a county district judge declared the law to be in violation of Iowa's State Constitution and entered a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.[79] See the Iowa Lawsuit section of this article under the Legal challenges heading for more details related to the litigation over Iowa's fetal heartbeat bill.

Kansas

The bill was introduced and referred to committee in February 2013. The bill was presented to the Kansas house in March 2013.[80] The bill was known as House Bill 2324, "An act prohibiting an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat."[81] One outspoken advocate of such bills is Mark Gietzen, who has tried to gather as many signatures as possible in order to get Sam Brownback to convene a special session of Congress in order to consider the bill.[82] Gietzen also advocated for a fetal heartbeat law to be passed during a special session of the Kansas legislature, to be held on September 3, 2013.[83] HB 2324 died in committee in May 2014.[80]

Kentucky

Two bills which seek to prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected have been filed in the Kentucky General Assembly in 2019.[84] Sen. Matt Castlen introduced SB 9 in the Kentucky Senate on January 8, 2019.[85] On February 14, 2019, SB 9 passed out of the Kentucky Senate by a 31–6 vote.[86] The bill was received in the House on February 15, 2019, where it now awaits action by the Kentucky House of Representatives.[87] Damon Thayer, the Senate Republican floor leader said SB 9 "absolutely" is a priority for the chamber and he hopes to hold a full hearing soon on the bill. He said he would be delighted if it became law and ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court as a means to overturn to Roe v. Wade "It would be the pinnacle of my career," he said.[88] On March 14, 2019, the Kentucky House passed SB 9 by a vote of 71–19.[89]

A similar bill by Rep. Robert Goforth was introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives. The bill, HB 100, which was prefiled on December 13, 2018, was referred to the Health and Family Services Committee on January 10, 2019.[90] When asked about the heartbeat bill, Rep. Goforth, who announced his candidacy for Governor of Kentucky on January 8, 2019, the same day the bill was introduced, said he would be pleased if Kentucky or one of the other states considering similar measures enacted such a law and, in the event of court challenge, took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.[88]

Previous fetal heartbeat bills filed in Kentucky have failed to pass. A fetal heartbeat bill, HB 132, was introduced on January 7, 2014 by Joseph Fischer. The bill was referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee on March 19, 2014, where the bill died.[91][92] In 2013, Rep. Fischer introduced the same bill with the same bill number (Hb 132) on January 11, 2013. The bill was referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee on February 20, 2013, where the bill died.[93][94]

Maryland

Two fetal heartbeat bills have been filed in the Maryland House of Delegates in 2019. On February 8, 2019,Ric Metzgar filed HB 933.[95] On February 8, 2019, Robin L. Grammer, Jr. filed HB 978, a bill entitled "Keep Our Hearts Beating Act."[96]

Minnesota

On January 22, 2019, Tim Miller filed HF 271 in the Minnesota House of Representatives.[97]

Mississippi

In 2018, three heartbeat bills were filed in Mississippi; all of which died in committee.[98][99][100] In 2017, three heartbeat bills were filed in Mississippi; all of which died in committee.[101][102][103] In 2014, Sen. Joey Fillingane, filed a heartbeat bill in the Mississippi State Senate.[104] The bill died in committee.[105] In 2013, HB 6, was introduced in January and died in committee on February 5, 2013.[106]

Another fetal heartbeat bill filed in 2019, HB 529 by Robert Foster died the House Judiciary A Committee on February 5, 2019.[107]

Three fetal heartbeat bills were filed in the Mississippi Legislature in January 2019.[108] SB 2116, by Sen. Angela Burks Hill was referred to the Public Health and Welfare Committee on January 11, 2019.[109] HB 732, by Rep. Chris Borwn was referred to the Public Health and Human Services Committee on January 17, 2019.[110] After passing out of their respective committees on February 5, 2019,[108] both SB 2116 and HB 732, were passed out of the Mississippi Senate and Mississippi House on February 13, 2019.[111] On March 19, 2019, the Senate concurred in the House amendments to SB 2116,[112] and on March 22, 2019 the fetal heartbeat bill was signed into law by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.[113]

Missouri

Two fetal heartbeat bills have been filed in Missouri on January 9, 2019.[114] SB 139 was filed in the Missouri Senate by Sen. Andrew Koenig; the bill is pending in the Health and Pensions Committee.[115] HB 126 was filed in the Missouri House of Representatives by Rep. Nick Schroer.[116] On January 30, 2019, HB 126 was referred to the Children and Families Committee, and on February 12, 2019, a public hearing on the bill was completed.[117] On February 21, 2018, HB 126 was voted out of committee to the full House with the recommendation that it "do pass."[118][119] On February 27, 2019, HB 126 was passed out of the Missouri House and was sent to the state Senate.[120] Missouri’s House Speaker Elijah Haahr has said he supports the “heartbeat bill” calling it a top priority for the 2019 session.[121][122] When asked if he would sign a fetal heartbeat bill, Governor Mike Parson said, "I’ve been pro-life my entire career, and I support that all the time."[123]

The bill was signed on May 24, 2019 with an effective date of August 26, 2018. The bill bans abortions after 8 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest.[124]

North Dakota

North Dakota HB 1456 was signed into law in March 2013[125] by Jack Dalrymple, who stated that it was "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade." A federal district court found that it clearly violated the constitutional protections afforded in Roe v. Wade and it was quickly blocked.[2] In July of that year, a lawsuit had been filed with regard to the law by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), on behalf of the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, Red River Women's Clinic. In July 2015, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the bill.[126] The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, but the court denied a writ of certiorari in January 2015 and let stand the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.[127]

Ohio

In Ohio, a fetal heartbeat bill, HB 125, was co-authored by Janet Porter,[128] was introduced in the state legislature in October 2011.[129] The bill was shelved by the Republican majority Senate to avoid controversy.[130] This bill was notably supported by Jack Willke.[32] A related law was signed in Ohio in 2013 by John Kasich, which mandates, among other things, that doctors who do not test for a fetal heartbeat must be subject to criminal penalties; specifically, "The doctor’s failure to do so would be a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail, for the first violation and a fourth-degree felony, carrying up to 18 months in jail, for subsequent violations."[131] A further fetal heartbeat bill, based on Porter's original,[128] was introduced on August 14, 2013, by Lynn Wachtmann and others.[132]

A bill similar to the 2011–2012 bill was introduced in 2013, titled HB 248.[133]

On March 25, 2015, another heartbeat bill (House Bill 69) passed the Ohio House of Representatives.[134] The Guardian reported that "The bill is unlikely to go any further, facing stiff opposition in the senate as well as from John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio."[135]

On December 6, 2016, the Ohio Senate added a heartbeat ban provision to an unrelated bill, House Bill 493, previously passed by the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill was returned to the House and passed by the House the same day.[136] The bill as passed would make abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat a fifth-degree felony except in cases where a physician judges the abortion necessary "to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman."[137] On December 13, 2016, Kasich vetoed the bill.[138]

Two fetal heartbeat bills were introduced in the Ohio General Assembly in 2019, marking the 133rd Session of the Ohio General Assembly as the fifth time such legislation has been proposed in the state.[139] On February 11, 2019, Christina Hagan and Ron Hood filed HB 68,[140] which was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives on February 12, 2019.[141] On February 12, 2019, Kristina Roegner filed SB 23 in the Ohio Senate;[142] the bill was referred to the Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee on February 13, 2019.[143] On February 21, 2019, the President of the Ohio Senate, Larry Obhof pledged to pass SB 23 out of the upper chamber stating, “We are going to pass that bill by the middle of March. I have no doubt at all.”[144] On March 13, 2019, SB 23 was passed out of the Ohio Senate by a vote of 19 to 13.[145] The next month, the Ohio House amended the bill, and passed it, 56–40; the changes were ratified in the Senate, 18-13.[146] The bill was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine on April 11, 2019.[147] The law is expected to take effect in July.

Oklahoma

A fetal heartbeat bill (SB 1274) was signed into law by then-Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin in April 2012 that requires an abortion provider to offer a woman the opportunity to hear the conceptus's heartbeat before ending the pregnancy, and applies when the conceptus is at least eight weeks old. The bill took effect in November 2012.[148]

Pennsylvania

A fetal heartbeat bill (HB 2315) was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on May 2, 2018, primarily sponsored by Rep Richard Saccone.[149] The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee where it died.[150]

South Carolina

Rep. John Mccravy prefiled HB 3020 in the South Carolina House of Representatives in December 2018.[151] The bill, which is entitled "Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act", was introduced on January 8, 2018 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.[152] Previous attempts to pass fetal heartbeat bills in the South Carolina General Assembly have failed.[153]

Tennessee

Two fetal heartbeat bills were filed in the Tennessee General Assembly in 2019. On January 23, 2019, by Rep. James "Micah" Van Huss filed HB 77 in the Tennessee House of Representatives.[154] On February 7, 2019, Sen. Mark Pody filed SB 1236 in the Tennessee Senate.[155] On February 20, 2019, HB 77 was passed out of a Public Health subcommittee and sent to the full committee.[156] On February 26, 2019, the House Public Health Committee voted 15–4 to send HB 77 to the House floor for a full vote.[157][158] On February 7, 2019, HB 77 was passed out of the Tennessee House by a vote of 66–21.[159]

Texas

On February 7, 2019, Briscoe Cain, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, introduced a fetal heartbeat bill entitled the Texas Heartbeat Bill.[160] The bill (HB 1500) is joint authored by Representatives Phil King, Dan Flynn, Tan Parker, and Rick Miller.[161] As of February 26, 2019, HB 1500 had 57 sponsors or cosponsors of the 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives.[162] Former State Senator Wendy Davis said HB 1500 is “the most dangerous I’ve ever seen."[163]

A fetal heartbeat bill was previously introduced in Texas by Phil King on July 18, 2013, in the wake of Rick Perry signing Texas Senate Bill 5 into law.[164] The bill was not passed.[165]

West Virginia

Two fetal heartbeat bills have been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2019. On February 7, 2019, Ralph Rodighiero (D-Logan) filed HB 2903 entitled "The Fetal Hearbeat Act."[166] On February 8, 2019, Evan Worrell (R-Cabell) filed HB 2915.[167]

Wyoming

A fetal heartbeat bill, HB 97, was introduced in the Wyoming House of Representatives in January 2013 by Kendell Kroeker, however in February 2013 the bill was struck down by a house committee in a 4–5 vote.[15][168]

Legal challenges

Arkansas lawsuit

On May 27, 2015, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling and permanently blocked the law from being enforced.[169] In January 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case, leaving the Eighth Circuit’s ruling in place.[170]

Iowa lawsuit

On May 15, 2018, eleven days after Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed SF 359 into law, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc., Jill Meadows, M.D., and Emma Goldman Clinic (petitioners) filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief in state court arguing the fetal heartbeat law violated the Iowa State Constitution.[171][172][173] On June 1, 2018, Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert entered a preliminary injunction which temporarily blocked the law from going into effect.[174] On January 22, 2019, the county district judge declared the law to be in violation of the Iowa Constitution and entered a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.[79] In holding the law unconstitutional the judge cited the Supreme Court of Iowa's 2018 ruling in a challenge to a different abortion-restriction in which the state's court of last resort held that "a woman's right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution."[175] Anti-abortion proponents have said they hope this litigation creates a pathway for Roe v. Wade to be reexamined by the U.S. Supreme Court, but University of Iowa law professor Paul Gowder and other legal experts have said that it is almost impossible that it could end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, as the U.S. Supreme Court does not review Supreme Court decisions concerning state constitutional questions.[176]

In response to Judge Michael Huppert's ruling that Iowa’s heartbeat abortion ban violates the state Constitution, anti-abortion legislators have filed legislation to amend the state constitution to state,[177] “that the Constitution of the State of Iowa does not secure or protect a right to or require the funding of abortion.”[178] The resolutions proposing to amend Iowa's constitution are SJR 9 and HJR 5 which were filed on January 24, 2019 and February 6, 2019, respectively.[179][180] Should the amendment pass and be ratified by voters, it would essentially repeal the court's ruling.[181]

North Dakota lawsuit

In July 2015, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision blocking HB 1456 from going into effect.[182] The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case and the law remains permanently blocked.[183]

Kentucky lawsuit

Kentucky already has three lawsuits over abortion restrictions.[184]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The figure of "six weeks" is frequently quoted in the media. According to the Endowment for Human Development, a conceptus heart begins to beat at 22 days of pregnancy.[7] However, some uncertainty remains as to when this heartbeat can be detected, as it depends on the method used. When a transvaginal ultrasound is used, the heartbeat can be detected, in about 60% of pregnancies, at between eight weeks and eight weeks and six days of gestation,[8]

References

  1. ^ Glenza, Jessica (June 7, 2019). "Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses to describe abortion bans". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Lithwick, Dahlia (July 23, 2015). "A Regrettable Decision". Slate. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  3. ^ Glenza, Jessica (June 5, 2019). "Doctors' organization: calling abortion bans 'fetal heartbeat bills' is misleading". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  4. ^ North, Anna. "Abortion in America, explained in 10 facts". Vox. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  5. ^ Lai, K. K. Rebecca (May 15, 2019). "Abortion Bans: 8 States Have Passed Bills to Limit the Procedure This Year". Retrieved May 26, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  6. ^ CNN, Eric Levenson. "Alabama's anti-abortion law isn't alone. Here are all the states pushing to restrict access". CNN. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  7. ^ "Prenatal Form and Function – The Making of an Earth Suit". EHD. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Mitra, A. G.; Laurent, S. L.; Moore, J. E.; Blanchard Jr, G. F.; Chescheir, N. C. (1996). "Transvaginal versus transabdominal Doppler auscultation of fetal heart activity: A comparative study". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 175 (1): 41–44. doi:10.1016/S0002-9378(96)70248-X. PMID 8694073.
  9. ^ Weiss, Robin Elise. "How soon can I hear my baby's heartbeat in pregnancy?". About.com. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  10. ^ Belluck, Pam (May 9, 2019). "What Do New State Abortion Laws Really Mean for Women?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Could miscarriages land women in jail? Let's clarify these Georgia and Alabama abortion bills". The Washington Post. 2019.
  12. ^ "Swalwell's tweet about new GA abortion law is slightly off". @politifact. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  13. ^ Cari Sietstra (May 11, 2019). "Alabama's Terrible Law Doesn't Have to Be the Future of Abortion". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  14. ^ Anna North (May 16, 2019). "Abortion is still legal in America". Vox. Retrieved May 23, 2019. Because that’s before many people know they are pregnant, reproductive rights advocates say the “heartbeat” bills are de facto abortion bans
  15. ^ a b Hancock, Laura (January 29, 2013). "Wyoming House Panel votes down abortion bill". Casper Star-Tribune. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Quraishi, Jen. "Ohio's "Heartbeat" Abortion Bill Moves Forward". Mother Jones. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Redden, Molly (April 1, 2013). "New Republic: Fetal-Heartbeat Abortion Laws Are Dangerous Even If Judges Reject Them". Center for Reproductive Rights. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  18. ^ "A Fleeting Victory for Abortion Rights". Chicago Sun-Times. July 28, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
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  86. ^ "The Latest: Kentucky Senate passes fetal heartbeat bill". The Washington Post. February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019. The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Republican-led chamber’s 31–6 vote on Thursday came a few hours after the measure cleared a committee. The bill now goes to the state House, which is also run by Republicans.
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  120. ^ Associated Press (February 28, 2019). "MO House passes fetal heartbeat bill; legislation moves to the Senate". ABC 7 – KHQA. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  121. ^ Ballentine, Summer (February 14, 2019). "Abortion bill could cost Missouri $7B in Medicaid funding". apnews.com. Associated Press. Retrieved February 16, 2019. Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr on Thursday called a bill to ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected a priority
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  137. ^ "House Bill 493, As Passed By The Senate" (PDF). The Ohio Legislature. The Ohio Legislature, 131st General Assembly. December 6, 2016. p. 46. Retrieved December 7, 2016. Sec. 2919.195. (A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, no person shall knowingly and purposefully perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human individual the pregnant woman is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected in accordance with division (A) of section 2919.192 of the Revised Code. Whoever violates this division is guilty of performing or inducing an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, a felony of the fifth degree. (B) Division (A) of this section does not apply to a physician who performs a medical procedure that, in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, is designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. A physician who performs a medical procedure as described in this division shall declare, in a written document, that the medical procedure is necessary, to the best of the physician's reasonable medical judgment, to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. In the document, the physician shall specify the pregnant woman's medical condition that the medical procedure is asserted to address and the medical rationale for the physician's conclusion that the medical procedure is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. A physician who performs a medical procedure as described in this division shall place the written document required by this division in the pregnant woman's medical records. The physician shall maintain a copy of the document in the physician's own records for at least seven years from the date the document is created. (C) A person is not in violation of division (A) of this section if the person acts in accordance with division (A) of section 2919.192 of the Revised Code and the method used to determine the presence of a fetal heartbeat does not reveal a fetal heartbeat. (D) Division (A) of this section does not have the effect of repealing or limiting any other provision of the Revised Code that restricts or regulates the performance or inducement of an abortion by a particular method or during a particular stage of a pregnancy.
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  156. ^ Wadhwani, Anita (February 20, 2019). "'Heartbeat' abortion ban advances in Tennessee legislature". Tennessean. USA Today Network. Retrieved February 20, 2019. A bill that would outlaw abortions in Tennessee after a fetal heartbeat can be detected advanced out of a legislative subcommittee on Wednesday. The measure, proposed by state Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, and state Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, would make it a crime to perform an abortion in Tennessee once a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which typically occurs in the early weeks of a woman's pregnancy.
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  175. ^ Leys, Tony (January 23, 2019). "Iowa 'fetal heartbeat' abortion restriction declared unconstitutional". USA Today. Retrieved February 10, 2019. In his decision striking down the abortion law, Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert cited the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling last year in a challenge to a different abortion-restriction law. The high court held that "a woman's right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution" in that ruling.
  176. ^ "Republicans hope a challenge to Iowa's fetal heartbeat bill will overturn Roe v. Wade. How would that work?". Des Moines Register. May 1, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  177. ^ Freiburger, Calvin (February 7, 2019). "Iowa Senate panel passes law declaring no 'right to abortion'". Life Site Nerws. Retrieved February 14, 2019. The proposal is a direct response to Judge Michael Huppert ruling that the state’s heartbeat abortion ban, enacted last year, violates the state Constitution
  178. ^ "Text of Senate Joint Resolution 9-Introduced". legis.iowa.gov. Iowa Legislature. Retrieved February 14, 2019. A Joint Resolution proposing anamendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa that the Constitution of the State of Iowa does not secure or protect a right to or require the funding of abortion.
  179. ^ "IA SJR9 – 2019–2020 – 88th General Assembly". legiscan.com. Retrieved February 14, 2019. Introduced: on January 24, 2019
  180. ^ "IA HJR5 – 2019–2020 – 88th General Assembly". legiscan.com. Retrieved February 14, 2019. Introduced: on February 6, 2019
  181. ^ Freiburger, Calvin (February 7, 2019). "Iowa Senate panel passes law declaring no 'right to abortion'". Life Site Nerws. Retrieved February 14, 2019. The amendment, introduced by Republican state Sen. Jake Chapman and backed by more than half the members of the state Senate, simply says that the Iowa Constitution “does not secure or protect a right to abortion,” the Associated Press reports. That would ensure that future anti-abortion measures could not be declared unconstitutional at the state level.
  182. ^ Pieklo, Jessica Mason (July 22, 2015). "Federal Court Blocks North Dakota Heartbeat Ban, Calls on the Supreme Court to Overturn 'Roe'". Rewire News. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  183. ^ "Heartbeat Bans". rewire.news. Retrieved February 10, 2019. As with Arkansas’ law, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case. The law remains permanently blocked.
  184. ^ Schreiner, Bruce (January 9, 2019). "Fetal heartbeat: New abortion-related fight in Kentucky". AP NEWS.