A Total Abortion Ban Was Introduced In Congress & Here's What It Means

Photo: Nick Ut/AP Images.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has introduced a bill into Congress that would essentially amount to a total abortion ban, Rewire reports. The introduction of this bill came on the heels of a vote that would defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as well as Paul Ryan's promise to defund Planned Parenthood.

The bill, known as a “heartbeat bill,” recently appeared in Ohio, where it was struck down by Gov. John Kasich (R).

A “heartbeat bill” outlaws abortion when a heartbeat is present, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before most people even know they are pregnant. HR 490 would help King achieve his stated goal of outlawing abortion. He said in a press release that he feels Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional, despite multiple rulings to the contrary.

According to Rewire, a spokesperson for King provided legislative text that indicated that an abortion provider “who knowingly performs an abortion and thereby kills a human fetus” without checking for a heartbeat, telling the patient that a heartbeat exists, or proceeds with the procedure even if a heartbeat is present would face fines and up to five years in prison. The bill includes some limited exceptions for the physical health of the pregnant person but not for “psychological or emotional conditions.”

With one in three women in the United States receiving abortions in their lifetime, this bill could have far-reaching effects. Some of those effects are beginning to be seen, like in the case of the Tennessee woman who pleaded guilty to a felony for attempting to induce miscarriage with a coat hanger in her bathtub. As the risks for abortion providers grow for performing the procedure, the numbers of people willing to perform abortions are dwindling, Bustle reports, The number of clinics where the procedure can be obtained is also growing smaller, Bloomberg numbers show.

King’s spokesperson told Rewire that his office will release information about next steps for HR 490 in about a week. If you want to protest this bill, start by calling your Representative’s office to let them know you oppose it.
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