Fetal heartbeat

The Texas Taliban continues its war on women, Amanda Marcotte reports. Fetal heartbeat this time. Got a heart beat? Abortion forbidden! Slut leaves the fetus there long enough to develop a pulse, she’s stuck with it, the slut.

Like the lush at the bar who can’t stop himself from ordering one more round, some Texas Republicans don’t know when it’s time to give it up for the night. Drunk off the win of passing a bill into law that will shut down most abortion clinics in the state and ban abortions after 20 weeks, three Republican state legislators introduced yet another anti-abortion bill Thursday.

This one, which is even less likely to get far in the lower courts than the one Rick Perry just signed, would ban all abortions after a heartbeat can be detected through a transvaginal ultrasound. That means it could ban abortions as early as six weeks, though functionally, I can’t imagine many doctors would be willing to practice abortion at all for fear that anti-choicers would claim that they didn’t try hard enough to find the heartbeat.

That fetal heartbeat is what killed Savita Halappanavar. It’s what puts women in some Catholic hospitals in the US at risk if they develop life-threatening conditions while pregnant. It’s a tyrant.


  1. Menyambal --- Ooo, look! A garage sale ... says

    “Heartbeat” is a very loaded term. It implies a fully-formed heart, and a lack of heartbeat is a sign of death. “Heartbeat” really carries a lot of impact. It’s like referring to a blastocyst as a baby, it ups the emotional impact something fierce. “You want to stop a heartbeat?!?”

    In fact, what there is happening is the cells that will develop into a heart, are twitching as cardiac cells do. The very fact that the only way to detect the twitching is through a vaginal probe, is a give-away that it isn’t really a “heartbeat”.

    Anti-abortion messages really use emotion-loaded words, and it is important to be aware of them.

  2. thascius says

    If the same logic were applied at the end of life we’d have to keep brain-dead people on life support for a long, long, time, until the heart stopped “naturally.” Given their actions in other cases it wouldn’t shock me if the “pro-lifers” did.

  3. Rhys S says

    Does any one know why its called a ‘trans-vaginal ultrasound’ instead of ‘intra-vaginal’? The former sounds like a path to a perforated bowel.

  4. Francisco Bacopa says

    We gonna have Wendy Davis or one of the Castro twins as our next governor. I don’t understand how Bill White was unable to oust Perry last election what with him being the most awesome mayor of Houston ever and fighting hurricanes and shit. Of course, success in Houston might not play statewide. We elected a lesbian mayor (twice now) when White was term limited out. I don’t think Annise Parker as much of a future unless the TX-18 US House seat comes open. I think she could win it easily. It was the gay woman seat back in the 70’s back when Barbara Jordan held it, though she wasn’t quite totally out. It’s also thought of as a black district, but things are changing. Inner 4th Ward used to have 1000 residents, now it has ten thousand, whitish as you can expect here, and heavily gay as Montrose used to be.

    My dream:

    Somehow Wendy Davis is the next governor.

    A Castro twin is elected to the US Senate.

    Jackson-Lee retires from TX-18 around the time Parker serves her last term as mayor.

    Hey y’all, it could happen.

  5. Amy Clare says

    It’s emotive, all right – it’s got F all to do with whether a fetus can suffer, as suffering takes place within a decently formed brain and nervous system.

  6. DonnaFaye says

    I realize the heart figures prominently in mythology and literature as the locus of emotion but in biological reality it is simply the muscle that pumps blood. All that makes us sentient humans is in our brains, which aren’t developed until much later in the pregnancy. The presence of a heartbeat in no way establishes viability.

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