House Republicans plan to hold a hearing for a bill that would ban abortion after six weeks — before many women even realize they’re pregnant.
Known as the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, the bill was first introduced in January by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who modeled the legislation after a similar bill Ohio Gov. John Kasich ultimately vetoed in December after deciding that a law banning abortions at 20 weeks was more likely to hold up in court. (At the time, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio had explicitly threatened to challenge the six-week ban.)
While King’s proposed legislation faces similarly long odds — it conflicts with the protections granted by Roe v. Wade to women seeking abortions — the lawmaker told reporters in January he was confident changes to the Supreme Court during a Donald Trump presidency could help overturn the landmark ruling threatening the bill’s passage.
“By the time we march this thing down to the Supreme Court, the faces on the bench will be different — we just don’t know how much different, but I’m optimistic,” King said during a press conference.
The bill would grant exceptions for abortions performed to save the life of the person seeking the procedure, but “psychological or emotional” disorders won’t qualify. Physicians caught performing abortions in the event of the bill’s passage would be faced with a fine or up to five years in prison — or both.
King previously said he was optimistic the legislation, if passed, would curb a majority of abortions performed in the U.S.
“We think this bill properly applied does eliminate a large, large share of the abortions — 90% or better — of the abortions in America,” he said.