Here we go again. Three Republican lawmakers have filed a measure to criminalize abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- it normally is heard around six weeks into a pregnancy. The Texas Legislature has been holding a special session to discuss abortion restrictions after an attempt to ban abortion after 20 weeks riveted the nation. To detect a fetal heartbeat at such an early stage, as this bill proposes, generally requires an invasive probe, rather than a outer-body ultrasound. North Dakota recently passed a similar bill.
Via Think Progress:
The Texas legislature is currently in the midst of a special session that was convened specifically to give lawmakers more time to consider abortion restrictions. The session will end on July 31. Until then, GOP lawmakers have been busy proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills in the hopes of being able to rush them through.
One of those bills, a measure to ban abortion after 20 weeks and shut down the majority of the states’ abortion clinics, has captured national attention over the past several weeks as thousands of Texans have rallied at the capitol in protest. The legislature gave final approval to that bill on Saturday, and Gov. Rick Perry (R) just signed it into law on Thursday morning. But that’s not enough to satisfy Reps. Phil King (R), Dan Flynn (R), and Geanie Morrison (R) — who filed HB 59 on the same day that Perry signed the controversial abortion restrictions.
So-called “heartbeat” bills are so radical that they divide the anti-choice community. In addition to criminalizing the vast majority of abortions, they also mandate invasive ultrasound procedures for women seeking abortions. In order to detect a fetal heartbeat so early in a pregnancy, doctors typically have to use a transvaginal probe.
North Dakota became the first state to pass six-week heartbeat ban, when it passed a similar bill earlier this year.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only egregious affront to reproductive rights that women in North Dakota have to worry about. State lawmakers are also considering an even more radical “personhood” measure that would outlaw abortion altogether, as well as some forms of contraception. And, despite the fact that there’s just one abortion clinic left in the state, anti-choice Republicans are attempting to advance legislation that would force it to close its doors.