UPDATED at 6:30pm EST: According to WBNS-TV in Ohio, “two pregnant women were given ultrasounds as part of a House committee meeting Wednesday morning. The heartbeat of a fetus at 15 weeks gestation was easily detected. The heartbeat in a fetus of nine weeks gestation was difficult to detect.”
Women’s rights are under assault all across the country. Overzealous anti-choice legislators have come to the forefront in the aftermath of the 2010 election, in statehouses and at the federal level — be it South Dakota’s now-abandoned “justifiable homicide” against abortion doctors bill, a Georgia state bill to not only outlaw abortion but to criminalize miscarriages, of the House of Representatives’ recent vote to defund Planned Parenthood, to name just a few.
And in Ohio, state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann introduced a first-of-its-kind piece of legislation called “the heartbeat bill,” which would “prohibit women from ending pregnancies at the first detectable fetal heartbeat,” something that can come as early as 18 days after conception. In her own Johnnie Cochran way, Wachtmann rhymed: “If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”
There’s a hearing on this bill this morning, where anti-abortion legislators have scheduled an unconventional witness: a fetus.
A pregnant woman is scheduled to be brought before the Ohio state legislature, but she isn’t going to be the one testifying. Rather, an ultrasound of her uterus will be projected onto a screen and her 9-week-old fetus will somehow give its testimony.
An aide to Wachtmann, who’s Republican Chairman on the Health and Aging Committee in the Ohio House, said that the fetus is being called as a witness to demonstrate at what point a heartbeat can be medically detected in the pregnancy.
Janet Porter, president of anti-abortion group Faith 2 Action, said the fetus will be the youngest-ever legislative witness to come before the Ohio legislature.
To put Porter’s statement in perspective, Faith 2 Action has several quotes on its website from anti-abortion advocates describing Ms. Porter’s dedication to their cause. Craig Roberts, of San Francisco’s hit radio show Life!Line describes Porter as the “adrenaline in the body of Christ.”
That’s good enough for us.
Proponents of relative sanity during legislative debate, however, question whether this “testimony” will lead to a petrie dish of ejaculate being called as witnesses during future debates.