WASHINGTON (EWTN News) — A new bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., would require abortion providers to make an unborn child’s heartbeat visible and audible to its mother in order for her to give her informed consent for an abortion.
“A pregnant woman who enters an abortion clinic is faced with a decision that will forever change two lives,” said Bachmann. “That’s why she must have the very best information with which to make that decision.”
The Heartbeat Informed Consent Act, which was introduced in Congress on Oct. 6, is similar to laws in several states that require a pregnant woman to be given the chance to see ultrasound images of her unborn child before she chooses to have an abortion.
While ultrasounds are commonly performed at abortion businesses to determine the age of the fetus at the time of the abortion, the mother is rarely able to see the ultrasound images.
The proposed legislation would require abortion providers to give women the opportunity to see and hear the heartbeat of their unborn children before performing an abortion.
The bill notes it would not “prevent a pregnant woman from closing or averting her eyes from the ultrasound images required to be displayed or not listening to the description of the images required to be given.”
Abortion providers who fail to give women the option of seeing and hearing their unborn children’s heartbeat would be penalized under the act with fines up to $100,000 and up to $250,000 for repeat offenses.
Bachmann, who is currently running for the Republican presidential nomination, explained that the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act “would require that abortion providers make the unborn child’s heartbeat visible through ultrasound, describe the cardiac activity, and make the baby’s heartbeat audible, if the child is old enough for it to be detectable.”
“A study by Focus on the Family found that when women who were undecided about having an abortion were shown an ultrasound image of the baby, 78% chose life,” she said.
“An unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected as early as five weeks after conception, and ultrasound technology is an amazing medical advance that provides a window for a pregnant woman to see her unborn child,” she explained.
“My legislation will not only enable this technology to be better used to protect life, but also to ensure that a woman who is considering abortion is finally able to give full and informed consent.”
The bill has 29 original co-sponsors. In addition, it has been endorsed by several pro-life groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List and Heartbeat International.
“This bill provides concrete, positive and effective steps for Congress to protect women’s health,” stated Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.
“Far too many women have been told that they were aborting a ‘blob of tissue,’ only to learn later that the unborn child already had a beating heart and was very much alive,” said a statement by the National Right to Life.
“We commend you for working to ensure that the technology that allows us to see and hear an unborn child’s heartbeat is used to benefit women by making them more fully informed.”