Anti-Abortion Groups Push ‘Heartbeat’ Bills In All 50 States

Earlier this month, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced The Heartbeat Informed Consent Act which would require all abortion providers to “make the heartbeat of the unborn child visible and audible to its mother as part of her informed consent.” Bachmann’s bill may be a shameless pander to evangelical voters, but abortion foes are already planning a much more ambitious campaign to propose Bachmann-style “heartbeat” bills in all 50 states:

A nationwide coalition of anti-abortion groups said Wednesday it is preparing to push legislation in all 50 states requiring that pregnant women see and hear the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion.

The effort follows the introduction of similar legislation at the federal level by Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. […]

The informed-consent bill that’s being pushed in the 50 states would require abortion practitioners to make the fetal heartbeat audible and visible to pregnant women before an abortion. It’s being backed by the National Right to Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council Action.

This year, Ohio considered the most radical “heartbeat bill” in the country. The bill outlaws abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before many women even know they’re pregnant. There is no exception in the bill for rape, incest, or mental health of the woman. The Ohio bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate and is expected to be taken up again this fall.


Ohio’s heartbeat bill is unlikely to survive a legal challenge and is so extreme that it has actually divided the anti-abortion community in Ohio, the home state of International Right to Life founder Jack Willke. Ohio Right to Life has withheld its support for the legislation, arguing that it could not withstand judicial scrutiny.

But while some of the anti-abortion groups may be divided over how radical they want their heartbeat bills to be, their ultimate mission is the same, said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “Let’s be clear, they all want to take away a woman’s ability to make personal, private decisions by outlawing abortion.”