Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

A 'heartbeat bill' that bans abortion as early as 6 weeks after conception has been passed by Mississipi state Senate following a hand vote. Other states likely to follow.
On Wednesday, the state Senate in Mississippi passed a bill in favor of protecting unborn babies as soon as they develop a detectable heartbeat. The move came on Wednesday following approval from the chamber. The bill was passed in the Senate by a hand vote, though the count is yet to be announced. The sponsors of the bill are State Sens. Angela Hill, R-Picayune, Chris Caughman, and R-Mendenhall, while state Rep. Robert Foster is the sponsor of the House version of the bill - state House Bill 529. If the bill becomes a law almost all abortions in Mississipi would be illegal. As it is, the state only has one abortion clinic, to begin with. The bill has raised much debate over the detection of a fetus' heartbeat and when life actually begins. There were strong opposing views on the subject. Some felt this bill was far more restrictive than the previous which allowed for abortion only up until week 15 of the pregnancy, insisting that it is a gross violation of a woman's right to choose what to do with her body. Others felt it was high time to put an end to reckless termination of fetuses.
Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

The heartbeat bill would mean termination would only be possible up until week six of the pregnancy. And that's a generous estimation, considering there is now research that suggests just 18 short days after conception a fetus could develop a heartbeat. While definitely more restrictive than its predecessor, the bill does allow for women to seek termination post the stipulated timeframe if the pregnancy is a risk to their own life or other valid medical emergencies. However, it does not make any allowances for unplanned pregnancies that are a consequence of trauma including rape and incest.
Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

The six-week timeline stated by the bill was met with much opposition by Sen. Deborah Dawkins and D-Pass Christian who was formerly a nurse. She asked Sen. Joey Fillingane and R-Sumrall who was charged with presenting the bill in the Senate whether he knew what procedure was employed to detect a fetal heartbeat that early in a pregnancy. Fillingane replied that it was by ultrasound. Without missing a beat, Dawkins corrected her fellow lawmaker and emphasized that it was no ordinary ultrasound but a transvaginal one. "There’s no way you could have experienced the pleasure of that device," quipped Dawkins as laughter broke out among senators.
Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

She reminded those present to bear in mind that a woman's menstrual cycle is four weeks long and can be delayed or affected by more reasons than one. Placing a six week cut off period for termination would mean it would be as good as banning abortion altogether. By the time a woman realizes she could be pregnant, it will most likely be too late to consider termination. However, all signs indicate that the bill could very well be on its way to becoming a law. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has already voiced his support for the bill. "It’s time to pass a Heart Beat Bill in Mississippi and stop this madness about when life begins," Bryant announced on Twitter back in January.
Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

One of the bill's authors, Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune, made an emotional case for the bill before the final vote. She said, "Times are changing in this country. We can see more of what’s happening in the womb… We can see that heart beating with those test and I’ve had those tests and they’re not so bad." She recounted the overwhelming sense of joy that washed over her when she heard each of her children's heartbeat for the first time before stating, "I see in this country that we protect sea turtle eggs and we protect other endangered species of animals with a greater degree of scrutiny and zealousness than we protect a child in the womb that has a beating heart."
Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

Hill further implored, "The womb should be the safest place in the world for an unborn child. I’m asking Mississippi to be different." Dawkins was in no mood to relent to emotional arguments and stated how most women don't even know they are pregnant until after six weeks. "In my opinion and the opinion of a lot of scientists, the heartbeat bill is a misnomer," Dawkins emphasized. "What is called a heartbeat by some is pulsating embryonic tissue that may become a heart," she said. But regardless of her sentiments on the issue, pro-life lawmakers have been busy at work introducing more than one heartbeat bill over winter.

They remain optimistic that they will emerge victorious with the support of the new conservative Supreme Court. Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina are other states considering a similar bill. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio has already voiced that he would stand behind a heartbeat bill too. Most abortion opponents believe that the high court in all likelihood may reverse Roe v. Wade ruling from 1973 that established a woman's right to abortion on a national level. At the very least, they expect that specific state laws will be upheld to undermine Roe in whichever way possible.
Senate of Mississippi Adopts 'Heartbeat Bill' Banning Abortion After Six Weeks From Fetation

If the bills become law, they will most likely be legally challenged. Planned Parenthood Southeast has already condemned Mississipi Legislature in a statement they issued, clearly appalled by the fact that they saw it fit to pass a bill that will most certainly be declared unconstitutional if it actually becomes law. Felicia Brown-Williams, Mississippi director at Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates explained, "These bills would ban abortion — outlawing the procedure before most women even know they’re pregnant." Brown-Williams continued, "Individual rights and freedoms go to the heart of who we are as a country, including the right to access safe and legal abortion. Mississippians should be able to make their own most personal health care decisions without politicians controlling when, how, or why."