‘Fetal Heart Rate’ in Abortion Laws Harnesses Emotion, Not Science | National policy
The idea that abortion as early as six weeks after the onset of pregnancy “stops a beating heart” helped propel the measures above lingering constitutional concerns in the states that supported them.
Concept originator, Ohio anti-abortion activist Janet Folger Porter, openly spoke about her strategy in an email to supporters last year – cleverly avoiding whether the contents of the bill were medically true.
“The slogan, ‘Abortion stops a beating heart’, has long been an effective way of highlighting the injustice and inhumanity of abortion,” Porter wrote of the state law. , The Ohio Heartbeat Protection Act.
And, she found, the hearts were easy to market.
During the decade-long battle to pass Ohio law, Porter punctuated his lobbying efforts with heart-shaped balloons and teddy bears. She urged supporters to “take heart” in the face of obstacles – and urged lawmakers to “have a heart” and vote “yes” despite their constitutional concerns.
Then Republican Governor John Kasich twice vetoed Ohio’s “heartbeat bill”, citing constitutional issues. His GOP successor Governor Mike DeWine signed him in 2019 amid a wave of similar bills that year.
For now, abortion remains legal in all 50 states, although 43 have some form of restriction on the procedure after a fetus becomes viable outside the womb, typically between 24 and 28 weeks.