Michigan Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Bills Introduced in House
The Michigan House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would prevent Michigan physicians from performing abortions if the fetus is found to have a heartbeat following an ultrasound.
"LANSING, MI -- Michigan physicians would be prohibited from performing an abortion on a pregnant woman if a mandatory ultrasound reveals a [']fetal heartbeat['] under legislation introduced this week in the state House.
The three-bill package would require an external ultrasound before any abortion and could effectively criminalize the procedure after a heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six to eight weeks into a pregnancy.
Sponsoring state Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, said he introduced the bills in an attempt to limit abortion in Michigan but acknowledged that the ban and criminal penalties he proposed could face legal challenges.
[']If an elderly person reaches the end of their life, we judge their death by when their heartbeat stops,[']Hooker said Thursday. [']Using the same line of reasoning, although I believe in life from conception, if you have a heartbeat the law should at least consider that a life.[']
The legislation, introduced with 15 Republican co-sponsors and a former Democrat turned independent, would require an abortion provider to offer a pregnant woman the chance to hear a heartbeat if one is detected and advise her whether she should undergo an internal ultrasound if one is not.
In the case that a heartbeat cannot be found, a physician would have to inform a woman that removing a fetus that has died is not considered an abortion.
Physicians who perform an abortion after a heartbeat is detected could face up to four years in prison and/or a fine up to $50,000
State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, blasted the legislation as an attack on [']women's health,['] arguing that it would ban most abortions at a point before women typically realize they're pregnant.
[']Republicans like to say they are the party of small government, but they can't seem to take their hands off women and their medical choices,['] Hovey-Wright said in a statement.
She also argued it is [']insulting to all the women of Michigan to insinuate that women aren’t intelligent and competent enough to make their own medical decisions without the state’s interference.[']
A federal judge recently struck down a fetal heartbeat law in North Dakota, calling it an [']invalid['] and unconstitutional ban on a woman's [']choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability.['] Another fetal heartbeat law in Arkansas that would ban abortion 12 weeks into a pregnancy was also overturned.
Right to Life of Michigan, which generally supports the legislation and worked on the bills with Hooker, acknowledged that at least two of the measures could conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade.
[']This may not be an ideal time to push it in the courts,['] said Right to Life legislative director Ed Rivet. [']But certainly we support the concept that unborn children with a heartbeat should be protected.[']
Even if other bills are challenged, Hooker said his main proposal would serve an important purpose by guaranteeing a pregnant woman the opportunity to hear a fetal heartbeat before deciding whether to move forward with an abortion.
[']If a mother recognizes that her baby has a heartbeat, she'll be able to hear that heartbeat, and the chances of her having that abortion goes down dramatically,['] said Hooker. [']It's going to limit abortion.[']