There has been a lot of discussion of abortions in the news lately. Specifically, the heartbeat bill has been a hot topic. The heartbeat bill is currently making its rounds to different states. However, this isn’t the first time that a heartbeat bill like this has been brought to attention. This important thing about history is learning it so we do not repeat past mistakes, so the best way to assess the heartbeat bill is to look at where it started.
History of Abortions
Before 1880, abortions were practiced regularly and legally. It was deemed that abortions were legal until the woman could feel the baby kick and even the Catholic church did not believe that life occurred until the woman could feel her baby kick. Abortion drugs were extremely common and the only real concern about these drugs was poisoning. During that time, no one had a moral or religious or political issue with the drugs.
Of course, this all changed once the American Medical Association got involved. In 1857, the association created a crusade to make abortions illegal. The reason being is because the association wanted to eliminate their competition such as midwives and homeopaths. In 1873, Congress created the Comstock Law to ban all abortion drugs. This was because politicians feared that abortion was the reason for the fall of birth rates in white women in the United States. Even though abortion was illegal in most states, they still allowed abortions if it put the woman’s life at risk.
This illegalization didn’t last too long. In the 60’s, the women’s liberation movement was created to advocate for reproductive rights and resulted in Roe v. Wade. If you aren’t aware of exactly what Roe v. Wade is, it was a landmark decision in 1973 which ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides a fundamental right to privacy that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to have a choice.
History of the Heartbeat Bill
The first heartbeat bill was in Ohio during 2011. Ohio’s heartbeat bill was never made into a law but resulted in other states making similar bills. North Dakota had their own heartbeat bill in 2013 and actually succeeded in enacting it, but it was soon blocked by a court on the appellate level. Arkansas followed North Dakota the same year to ban abortions at 12 weeks but it also got blocked. Iowa in 2018 created their heartbeat bill and was challenged in the courts. Now, in 2019, three states are having their heartbeat bills fought in courts before they take effect. These three states are Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio (again).
Why They’ll Fail
The Supreme Court, in a sense, still follows the same ideas as the 1800’s in the sense that you cannot “ban abortion before viability”. In other words, you cannot ban abortion before 24 to 28 weeks. It is unconstitutional and will not take off. However, there are some bills that are finding loopholes. For example, Ohio created a law that prohibits dilation and evacuation, which is how abortions are carried out in the second trimester.
What is Pro-Life
The heartbeat bill that you are currently watching in the media is not pro-life. Yes, people that are actually pro-life do not agree with abortions nor advocate for them. However, being pro-life does not equal taking away a woman’s right or infringing on her with your pro-life beliefs. People that are pro-life want to sway a woman’s opinion away from abortion but not force her into any decision. The heartbeat bill is pro-control and not pro-life. Being actually pro-life is actually pro-woman.
Pro-life advocates for all life, including out of the womb. This means that being pro-life is advocating for the safety of women and their right to choose. Being pro-life is understanding that most women chose to abort for socio-economic reasons, or a failure due by society to properly support women. It means getting women the help and education that they need to make the best decision for themselves.
Being pro-life is advocating and helping kids in foster care. One out of three children in foster care are abused in some way. Around 18% of children that are removed from their parents because of physical or sexual abuse are two times more likely to being abused in the same manner in a foster home. This also means that over 40,000 children, who were never abused in the first place, have a higher likelihood of facing abuse because they are in foster care.
This is the greatest thing that self proclaimed pro-life activists do not understand: being pro-life is not just about unborn kids. You cannot claim to be pro-life yet cannot welcome refugees fleeing from war torn countries. You cannot be pro-life if you do not care about climate change. You cannot be pro-life if you could not care less about people being gunned down in the streets just because of the color of their skin. You cannot be pro-life when you do not care about a living woman’s health the same amount as you do for a fertilized ovum.
Being pro-life should not be associated with anti-women just as being pro-choice should not be associated with anti-birth. Keeping religion out of law making should not be this difficult. Oppressing women should not be happening. The reality is that we, as a society, are moving backwards and it cannot continue to happen.