Pennsylvania lawmakers to unveil heartbeat bill


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Two Pennsylvania lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would make abortions illegal as soon as a heartbeat is detected.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Franklin) and Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R-Clinton/Center) have scheduled a news conference for Monday to unveil their legislation.

In a co-sponsorship memoranda for her proposal, House Bill 1977, Borowicz says the bill would require all physicians, before proceeding with abortion, to determine whether the baby has a heartbeat. If the baby has a heartbeat, the abortion cannot be performed.

“This will eliminate the need for gestational age in legislation and will honor the science which shows that more than 90 percent of all pregnancies are viable in which a heartbeat is detected,” the memoranda states.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would immediately veto such a bill if it ever reached his desk.

“This bill defies all medical and practical understanding of modern women’s health care,” Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said in a statement. “Many women do not even know if they are pregnant at six weeks. Governor Wolf opposes any further restrictions on women’s health care and believes Harrisburg politicians should keep these decisions between a woman and her doctor.”

The Legislature in 2017 approved a bill to prohibit abortions after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Wolf vetoed the legislation, calling it “an assault on the doctor-patient relationship by politicians without medical or health expertise.”

Legislatures in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have all passed heartbeat abortion bills in recent years, but none have taken effect. Some were blocked by courts and legal challenges are pending in others.

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