Wyoming ‘Fetal Heartbeat Bill' promises to ban abortions after six weeks
On January 15, 2013 At 9:53 am
Responses : 2 Comments
Two bills have been presented to the Wyoming legislature focusing on women's reproductive rights, specifically abortion and the detection of a hearetbeat within the fetus.
HB 97, if passed, would prevent a woman from terminating her pregnancy once a heartbeat is detected, either in the embryo or fetus. SF88 focuses on pregnant women listening to the heartbeat.
The sponsor of HB97 is Republican Representative Kendell Kroker, who stated in a report filed by the Wyoming news agency, Trib,
“It became clear that if a baby had a heartbeat, that seemed simple to me that it’s wrong to kill it.”
According to the report, HB97 removes the words 'reached viability' from current state law, and replaces them with 'a detectable fetal heartbeat. To clarify, the bill defines a legal heartbeat as,
"…cardiac activity or steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac that is detectable using standard medical equipment.”
The Trib states that Kroeker claimed the idea for the bill 'just came to him,' but points out that a similar bill presented to the Ohio legislature would requre the seeing and hearing of a fetal heartbeat by any pregnant woman seeking an abortion.
SF88 appears to be redundant with respect to the ethical requirements of physicians to inform their patients of any method being used to perform a surgical procedure, including any medications, side effects and risks associated with said surgical procedures, which the report states to include,
“…infection, hemorrhage, cervical or uterine perforation, danger to subsequent pregnancies, the increased risk of breast cancer and the death of the unborn fetus.”
There are studies that have debunked the belief that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.
This bill adds the stipulation that physicians be required to provide this information at least 24 hours prior to performing an abortion, and offering pregnant women an opportunity to listen to the heartbeat, itself.
Additionally, the bill would require physicians to advise a pregnant woman information on abortion alternatives, as well as provide a details about the fetus, including any information regarding age, anatomic and psychological characteristics that are gleaned from the results of an ultrasound exam. The woman would then be required to sign a waiver if she chooses not to hear or view the heartbeat, stating that the option was given.
The bill does have a provision for immediate abortion if the life of the mother is in imminent danger.
The report quotes Republican Representative Leslie Nutting, who sponsored SF88, who said she came up with the idea for the bill from different sources, stating,
“This bill does not try to pit pro-choice against pro-life. What it is doing is recognizing the right that these women, who need to have the most information available as they can so they can be informed in making what may be one of the most important decisions in their lives."
The provision in SB88 that would require a physician to give a woman seeking an abortion a list of clinics that provide free ultrasound exams is of major concern to Sharon Breitweiser, the Executive Director for the Wyoming branch of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Breitweiser states that most of the clinics in the state that offer this exam at no charge are run by religious groups.
The story quotes Breitweiser as stating,
“There’s going to be a cost to the state to compile that list. There’s no corresponding list for the Department of Health to provide a list of abortion providers or [free or reduced] contraception.”
Another issue that was brought to light in the story is the method used to detect a heartbeat. According to a local OB-GYN, a transvaginal ultrasound can detect a heartbeat at about the fifth week of a pregnancy.about the fifth week.
Sponsors of these bills are listed as follows,
HB97 – 11 sponsors, all Republicans:
- Kendel Kroeker
- Donald Burkhart
- Marti Halverson
- Lynn Hutchings
- Allen Jaggi
- Mark Semlek
- Matt Teeters
- Nathan Winters
- Senator Dan Dockstader
- Senator Larry Hicks
- Senator Leslie Nutting.
SF88 – 7 sponsors, all Republicans:
- Leslie Nutting
- Paul Barnard
- Curt Meier
- Rep. Lynn Hutchings
- Rep Allen Jaggi
- Rep Tom Reeder
- Rep. Stephen Watt.
For more commentary, quotes, information, interviews and relevant links, please read the whole report, here.