“There’s Something Almost Magical About a Heartbeat”


The Ohio bill that would outlaw abortion from the point in which a heartbeat could be detected — or approximately four weeks after conception — had its first senate hearing this week. Although no opposing testimony has yet to be scheduled, the supporters of the bill had plenty of time to have their say.

Via Boston.com:

State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, the bill’s sponsor, told the Ohio Senate’s health committee that doctors and nurses closely monitor patients’ heartbeats and emergency responders check for pulses.

“Why, then, should we ignore this critical indicator of life when it comes to the very young?” asked Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, as testimony began on the bill.

Jack Willke, who founded Ohio Right to Life and the International Right to Life Federation, also told the committee members he believed the bill had a shot at overturning Roe v. Wade.

“This has scared the wits out of pro-abortion organizers,” he said. “There is something almost magical about a heartbeat.”

“Magic” is maybe the most appropriate word the supporters could use.  Many seem to believe that banning abortion will “magically” force women to simply carry pregnancies to term, “magically” care for the babies born into families with no money, jobs or homes to protect them, and “magically” heal victims of rape who were impregnated during the attack, or mothers who’s lives are in danger if they continue with their pregnancies.

Somehow, take away a woman’s choice, and it will all “magically” work out in the end.

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  • equalist

    Due to erratic menstrual cycles, in all three of my pregnancies, I wasn’t even aware I was pregnant until nearly the end of the first trimester (12 weeks for the first and second, and 10 weeks for the third).  Most women, even those who have easy to track cycles, aren’t even aware that they’re pregnant until around 6-8 weeks.  A ban based on the heartbeat like this would all but completely ban abortion simply because most women don’t even know they’re pregnant until after the time limit has passed.

  • johann7

    A heartbeat is only “magical” if one doesn’t understand how cardiac muscle works. If one does understand how cardiac muscle works, and one reflects for a second on the fact that there are 7 billion+ people on the planet, a heartbeat is both entirely explicable and entirely mundane: very much not magical. A heartbeat is only magical if one presupposes a worldview predicated on magical thinking, that injects magic into things that we can completely explain without it. The “embryos have souls” argument is much more logically consistent, though it has the disadvantage of being an explicitly-religious argument, which tends to be problematic from a legal standpoint (and also not a sufficient reason to not kill something, as every religion under which life is supposedly sacred is also filled with stories of wanton slaughter, except in Jainism, where all life, down to microbes, is sacred).

    At any rate, the question of whether a fetus is alive is really irrelevant to the discussion over whether abortion should be legal. We allow people to kill actual people (well, people we all can agree are actually people) under any number of circumstances (e.g. self defense, war, capital punishment, by accident if a reasonable person could not have predicted the lethal consequences, as a function of economic policy and especially class stratification of availability of food and health care, by negligence as a function of religious beliefs proscribing medical intervention, though this is being challenged in some recent cases) because passing a law disallowing such behavior would be worse, in the opinions of our representative legislators. The ONLY question relevant to the abortion debate is whether banning abortion, or allowing it only under specific circumstances, is better for our society collectively than allowing unrestricted abortion (all historical evidence suggests that it is not). Ultimately it wouldn’t even matter if Yahweh himself had testified in favor of banning abortion in Roe v. Wade: we’re not talking about morality, personhood, or life, we’re talking about the law.

  • freetobe

    Is only magical to those who want to control and terrorize women! We might as well move to afghanistan it is getting no better here in the US. These people are insane and obsessed with controlling women and their sex lives.

    Maybe the men should start to realize they are in this together with women and sex will become obsolete if not only abortion but contraceptives become illegal. Women will still have abortions and now double the people will die but maybe that is what these people really want for women to die again in massive numbers so the male bigots can once again rule the world without interferrance from those “annoying women.”

    I for one have had it with this nonsense if they come to my door and try to take my home away after they have taken womens right to vote away (because you know that is next on their evil lists)they will face a loaded gun with a woman on the other end not afraid to lose her life to save her LIVING daughters future!! Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!!

  • crowepps

    The fact that somebody gets all emotional and full of drama about something doesn’t make the focus of their beliefs more important or more true.  “I’m an obsessive hysterical about sex and identify with every fetus that I imagine might exist so everybody has to cater to my feelings” isn’t a good reason to pass a law.   Actually, I can’t think of a worse reason.