Abortion defenders have long said all that's being aborted is a clump of cells. But pro-life forces say if a heartbeat can be detected, that proves what's inside the womb is a life and should be protected. A new bill in Congress, HR490, would make the presence of that heartbeat the standard for outlawing an abortion.
Some 170 House members back the Heartbeat Protection Act, which had its first hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Polling by the Barna Group shows 69 percent of Americans back the bill.
"That's 86 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Independents, and yes, even a Democrat majority by 55 percent," said Faith2Action president Janet Porter, the originator of the first heartbeat bill, at a Capitol Hill news conference.
Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa, the main sponsor of this congressional bill, said, "We have a nearly universal consensus in America — wherever you sit on the political spectrum — that human life is sacred."
"And this human life is not a blob of tissue," added Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland, who is also a doctor. "It's a human life. This bill makes that self-evident."
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas told CBN News if HR490 becomes law, "We will be giving life to those who cannot speak for themselves. People talk about 'we need to protect the innocent, those that cannot help themselves. There is nobody more innocent than an unborn child."
"Because abortion takes the life of a child, and because every fourth little baby in America is a victim of it, then those of us standing here under the sunlight of freedom and under the seat of freedom of the whole world are living in the midst of the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity," said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, as he stood outside the Capitol building and pointed heavenward.
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Georgia believes it is the government's duty to guard humanity's inalienable rights.
"We understand that life itself is a gift of God. It is not something granted by government or any institution. It is a God thing. And our task, among other things, is to guard, to defend, to protect those inalienable rights," he explained.
One motto used by the pro-life movement for many years is "Abortion stops a beating heart." The Heartbeat Protection Act would flip that slogan, so the new reality would be "A beating heart stops abortion."