Pennsylvania became the latest state in the country to consider legislation that, if passed, would effectively restrict abortion in the earliest phase of pregnancy.
The legislation, called The Heartbeat Bill – Protecting the Rights of the Unborn, was officially introduced on October 18 by the two lead sponsors Republican state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz of Clinton County and Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County.
The house and senate versions propose a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable —generally about six to eight weeks into a pregnancy. Critics say this is often before many women even realize they are pregnant and is essentially a back-door ban on a woman’s right to choose.
Pennsylvania’s current abortion law bans the procedure after 24 weeks and makes exceptions for cases where mother’s life is in danger, or if there is a risk of “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.”
Since 2013, ten other states have passed measures that are similar to or more restrictive than Pennsylvania’s proposals, but all of those measures have been challenged in court, and so far, none has taken effect.
Joining Smart Talk to discuss the legislation are state Senator Doug Mastriano and, appearing separately, Democratic Senator Lindsey Williams of Allegheny County.