It’s now become the center of the national debate over abortion. Lawyers and activists see a new law passed there -- which would prohibit the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks -- as a step toward toppling Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing a woman’s right to end her pregnancy.[...]
The North Dakota law makes it a felony for a doctor to perform a nonemergency abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. It’s the narrowest window of any state, prohibiting terminations some four months earlier than the current legal limit.
In Bismarck, the capital, lawmakers have been asked by Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple to set aside money to defend the measure, even as many, including Weisz and Nelson, predict a court will strike it down. Abortion-rights advocates plan to sue to block the law before it takes effect Aug. 1.[...]
Forty years ago, the Roe v. Wade ruling said women have a right to privacy to terminate pregnancies up until a fetus is viable outside the womb, then considered to be about 26 weeks. Technological advancements have since reduced that limit to around 23 or 24 weeks.
A ruling based on such a fluid marker is vulnerable, said Mathew Staver, who argued on behalf of clinic protesters before the Supreme Court in 1994. He’s the founder of Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Florida-based Christian nonprofit specializing in anti-abortion litigation, which has offered free assistance to North Dakota and Arkansas, where lawmakers passed a 12-week ban last month.
“Viability is not a determination on the value of life or whether there is a life,” Staver said. “It’s only a reflection of the available medical technology.”
Instead, abortion rights should be attacked on the grounds that the beginning of life should be measured by the same standard used to determine when it ends: a heartbeat, he said.
The truth is that those who favor abortion have never really cared much about embryonic or fetal life. In order for there to be Sex Without Consequences, there has to be a legal way for a woman to kill the child growing inside of her and dispose of the body before anybody can see. Whether or not the human being killed has a heart beat, measurable brain waves, or other markers of life doesn't matter: so long as at least some part of the baby remains inside her mother's womb, her mother gets to kill her--at least, that has been the American position.
We're starting to see some erosion in that position, and I think that North Dakota is taking a step in the right direction. If you stop the beating heart of an innocent human being, that's murder--and the human being's age or condition of dependency shouldn't matter.