Could Heartbeat Legislation Lead the Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade?
by Jonathan Abbamonte, Population Research Institute
With a new conservative majority on the Supreme Court, several states this year have seized on the opportunity to advance pro-life legislation aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade. One type of pro-life legislation in particular is increasingly gaining momentum on the state level—heartbeat bills which ban abortion from the moment an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected.
Because heartbeat laws ban abortion prior to “viability,” a heartbeat ban could provide the basis for a case before the Supreme Court that could see Roe v. Wade overturned.
Currently, Supreme Court precedent under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Caseyprohibits states from banning abortion prior to “viability.” According to the Supreme Court’s definition of the term, “viability” is the point at which the unborn child has the ability to survive outside its mother’s womb.
Heartbeat laws, however, ban abortion as early as 6 weeks gestation, far earlier than the Court’s “viability” benchmark. As a result, heartbeat laws directly challenge the Supreme Court’s viability standard.
So far this year, heartbeat bills have been introduced in 15 states. A project page maintained by the Population Research Institute (PRI) tracks the status and history of heartbeat legislation in every state where bills have been introduced.
Already, more heartbeat bills have been introduced this year than in any other year since the first heartbeat bill was proposed in the Ohio General Assembly back in 2011.
The Population Research Institute is a (501c3) non-profit research organization whose core values hold that people are the world’s greatest resource. PRI’s goals are to educate on this premise, to expose the myth of overpopulation, and to expose human rights abuses committed in population control programs. Our growing, global network of pro-life groups spans over 30 countries. For more information, please use this link.