Wednesday, the Constitution and Civil Justice subcommittee held a hearing regarding the Heartbeat Protection Act, an act that would effectively ban all abortions after 6 weeks. This bill would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which thanks to modern technology, is often at 6 weeks. Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant at 6 weeks. During the hearing, Steve King (R- Iowa), Chairman of the Subcommittee, saved a seat for a sonogram. During the hearing, he narrated a sonogram taken earlier in the day emphasizing the heartbeat.
In between the Republican claims for science and paternalism, Representative Pramila Jayapa (D-Washington), who is not a member of the subcommittee but came from the full committee and was, incidentally, the only elected woman at today’s panel, said that the bill had “no viability in the courts.” She asked Aultman if she believed “women’s rights are human rights.” “I think women have human rights but I don’t think that our right to convenience [eclipses life],” Aultman responded.
Today’s hearing demonstrated, in part, the extremes to which anti-abortion Republicans are willing to go, juxtaposed with the quickstep between science, religion, and medicine that they’ve becoming increasingly practiced at performing. It’s a routine that’s bound to be repeated, as it was during the passage of the 20-week ban, one that embraces technology when it’s useful but rejects the recommendations of medical professionals and their observations when convenient. It’s a performance too that will certainly make the 20-week ban more palatable to less extreme Republicans and anti-abortion Democrats, and it’s worth watching closely.