Saturday, October 22, 2011
TIME opinion column: The Next Abortion Battleground: Fetal Heartbeats, by Adam Cohen:
Anti-abortion groups begin a brazen campaign to make women listen to a heartbeat before they end a pregnancy
Abortion opponents have a new weapon of choice: the “heartbeat bill.” A coalition of anti-abortion groups told the Associated Press last week that it was pushing to enact laws in all 50 states that would make women listen to a fetus’s heart beat before they could abort. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has introduced a similar federal bill, The Heartbeat Informed Consent Act, in Congress.
When the Supreme Court decided Roe, critics of abortion vowed to get it overturned. They have not succeeded in that. But they have managed to pass a wide array of laws — some upheld by the courts, others struck down — making access to abortion more difficult. The Supreme Court has ruled that states can impose some restrictions, such as 24-hour waiting periods and parental consent requirements, but has struck down others, such as laws forcing women to notify their spouses. The heartbeat laws are the latest effort in a decades-long campaign that — as conservatives gain strength at the state level—appears to be gaining ground. . . .