Heartbeat Abortion Bills Were Once a Fringe Idea. Could They Overturn Roe v. Wade?
Three states have enacted heartbeat bills. Ten more are considering them.
When anti-abortion activist Janet Porter first introduced the idea of a “heartbeat” bill in 2011, she was almost laughed out of the room. The proposal—to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, or at about six weeks gestation—was so extreme that many of her fellow Republicans thought it was impossible.
A decade later, GOP lawmakers around the country are rushing to adopt Porter’s signature legislation, in hope of forcing the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine Roe v. Wade. Georgia is poised to become the third state to enact such a ban in the first three months of 2019 alone. Ten other states are currently considering the legislation, which experts say would ban abortions before most women know they are pregnant.