Today, the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, chaired by Rep. Steve King (IA), held the first hearing on H.R. 490, commonly known as the Heartbeat Bill.
Why the Heartbeat Bill?
Rep. King, the sponsor of H.R. 490, stated this bill is necessary because it is “decades past the time to defend the sanctity of human life.” He explained that “even Democratic presidents” recognized the life and needs of human children prior to birth. A document from the Carter administration stated that “life begins when a male sperms unites with a female egg” and that “the needs of a child…begin before birth.” A report from the Obama administration included figures for “abuse against unborn children,” which Rep. King said was “appropriate,” considering the children’s unique vulnerability in the womb. He said “equal protection for all Americans’ lives” is necessary and that it is “time for the law to codify what we know to be true.”
Rep. King discussed constitutional priorities and made the case that no one exercising their right to liberty has the constitutional right to take the life of another. “Liberty can never again be the excuse to take the life of another,” he said. “It’s time to emancipate every little baby.”
In an exclusive interview with Live Action News, Rep. King explained how he personally became convinced that every human being, at every stage of life, deserves protection:
When we were a a young married couple with no children, Roe v. Wade came down, and we didn’t understand the magnitude. On Friday night, I was sitting there at card club and somebody said, ‘Well, why do they keep having all those babies in Central America that they can’t feed? Why don’t they just have abortions?” I just remember passing along, and I didn’t raise the issue. It kind of sat in me in a way like, a discussion happened that I shouldn’t have let drift past me without objecting. I chewed on that for quite a while. And then our firstborn son came along. I picked him up, and I was in utter awe at the miracle. … I was just amazed, and I never got over it. In minutes, I thought, how could anybody take this little miracle’s life now? And how could they take his life the minute he was born, or the minute before he was born, or the hour, or the week, or the months before? It went back to conception. Once I had beheld the miracle, the beginning of that miracle went back to conception, and I became committed.
Testimony against the Heartbeat Bill
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), made the argument that Roe v. Wade is the only possible constitutional interpretation of the 14th amendment’s right to life in regards to abortion, claiming that since babies with heartbeats cannot live outside the womb on their own, their violent deaths through abortion cannot be banned. Rep. Cohen claimed the bill “undermines women’s equality,” disregarding all arguments for the equality of children and mentioned that NARAL (who publicly ignores the science on human life at conception) opposes the bill. He also stated that paying people’s utility bills was a more important endeavor for the U.S. government than protecting children in the womb from abortions like the common second trimester procedure below:
The sole witness opposed to the bill, Priscilla Smith, a clinical lecturer in law stated that D&E abortions are “absolutely” humane. She also claimed that Roe‘s holding is “essential” for abortion to continue in the U.S. Yet David Forte, a professor of law explained to the subcommittee how Roe is outdated, with misinformed science that is not modernly accurate. He said that lower courts have been telling the Supreme Court that its jurisprudence on abortion is wrong for some time now. Even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has stated that Roe was “heavy-handed judicial intervention [which] was difficult to justify.”
Testimony from a former abortionist
Former abortionist, Dr. Kathi Aultman, testified that she recalls the tiny limbs and organs of the babies she aborted, even while she was pregnant with her own daughter. She explained how she came to believe that just because a baby was unwanted did not lead to a right to kill her. “I do not believe a woman can remain unscathed” after abortion, Dr. Aultman said, relating her own abortion and the stories of three different women whose abortions she personally committed as their doctor. Culture has failed women on abortion, she stated, relating how “sanitized language” on abortion like “terminating a pregnancy” has led to the violent deaths of millions of innocent children. “I love meeting adults I delivered,” Dr. Aultman said, but also shared that it is difficult because, at the same time, she is “reminded of all the people I’ll never meet because I aborted them.”
Testimony from Star Parker, Founder of CURE
“Abortion is preying on our most vulnerable,” Star Parker, Founder and President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), told the subcommittee. Parker related that she “heard nothing” on the facts of fetal development prior to her own four abortions. She made the argument that, just as the U.S. finally extended equal protection to African Americans, the U.S. must now extend equal protection under the law to the conceived person living in her mother’s womb.
At the end of the hearing, Rep. Cohen became visibly angry with Parker, nearly yelling that she was “ignorant.”
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ) concluded his own statement: “What we are doing to these little babies is real, and Americans’ eyes are beginning to open.”