On Thursday, Iowa’s Republican Representative Steve King introduced a bill in Congress that would constitute a total abortion ban on a federal level, Rewire reports.
H.R. 490 (legislative text found here) would prohibit abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. This can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — a time period before many women know they’re pregnant.
“Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies’ lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government,” King said in a Thursday press release from his office. “If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”
King reportedly worked on the bill with Janet Porter of Faith2Action; per Right Wing Watch, Porter said that “when she recently attended Phyllis Schlafly’s funeral, she was able to speak with King and convince him to introduce a federal version of her bill.”*
H.R. 490 is similar to the Ohio’s “heartbeat bill,” which failed when Governor John Kasich vetoed the portion that would restrict abortion at six weeks (a 20-week ban was still instituted).
As for H.R. 490, it’s unlikely that it will pass in the House and far more unlikely that it would in the Senate. But even the introduction of such extreme legislation points to the increased attempts to dismantle Roe v. Wade we’ll see on a federal level under this administration.
Update: The original version of this post incorrectly stated that the congressman’s spokesperson told Rewire that Porter had spoken with King at Phyllis Schlafly’s funeral.