There has been a big push for Heartbeat bills in multiple states over the last year. Despite the fact that not one of these bills has survived a court challenge, more states are putting forth these bills. It is imperative for Christians to understand why these bills should not be supported and why they continue to be employed by legislators to avoid ending abortion.
Heartbeat Bills Are Iniquitous Decrees
Let’s start with the most important point for believers: Heartbeat bills are iniquitous decrees that are inconsistent with God’s word. Heartbeat bills essentially say, if an abortionists does not find a heartbeat, he can go ahead and murder that child. No Christian should support a bill that says “you can murder a child once these criteria are met” because God says “you shall not murder” (Ex 20:13). Supporting this kind of legislation is sinful because it is wicked legislation.
Now, many well-meaning Christians think that “saving some” is worth overlooking the unfortunate fact that babies are still allowed to be murdered. But that idea is not consistent with scripture. Scripture tells us not to show partiality (James 2:9) and not to write iniquitous decrees (Isa 10:1-2). We are not called to be pragmatic, we are called to be holy, and we must only support legislation that is consistent with God’s word.
I highly recommend The Doctrine of Balaam for a full treatise on why these pro-life bills are unbiblical.
Heartbeat Bills Are Useless
And while consistency with scripture is THE reason why Christians must oppose these bills, it is worth pointing out that this pragmatic method has failed it’s own standard (using methods that have the best chance of success). Not one Heartbeat bill that has been passed by a state has gone into effect. They have ALL been struck down by the courts before even having a chance of saving a baby.
Some heartbeat bill supporters still claim the Roe can be challenged by these bills. But that is untrue. The Supreme Court had a chance to rule on the North Dakota HB bill and declined: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/25/464311731/supreme-court-rejects-north-dakota-s-bid-to-save-strict-abortion-law
Additionally, these bills are fatally-flawed in their approach. They are often publicized as “6 week bans” when in reality, the methods used for detecting a heartbeat doesn’t work until a baby is 8-12 weeks. Since 88% of abortions occur by 12 weeks, very few babies will actually be saved. None, if women simply abort earlier to meet the requirements. This is explained by registered sonographer Sarah Cleveland:
These bills are also expecting a mass murderer (the abortionist) to be honest and sincerely try to find a heartbeat on a baby he will be paid to kill. Heartbeat bills are trusting a murderer to send away his customers.
These bills are also virtually unenforceable. If the mass murderer does a bad scan, no one will ever know due to the limitations of documentation that an ultrasound machine can produce. This fact is also explained by sonographer Sarah Cleveland:
Even the pro-life organizations National Right to Life and Americans United for Life acknowledge that these bills won’t save a single life:
“Will such bills [heartbeat bills] save babies in the meantime? The answer is No. There is no plausible legal argument that a prohibition on abortion will ever be upheld prior to reversing Roe v. Wade. And no judge in the United States will vote to uphold such a ban, guaranteed. So they will never go into effect.”Attorney James Bopp, Jr., National Right to Life 2019 Convention
“With all the respect I can muster to my many friends in the heartbeat movement, no heartbeat bill anywhere has ever saved a human life because, to my knowledge, they’ve all been struck down by federal and state judges…They are unconstitutional under current federal constitutional law. They were designed as a vehicle to challenge Roe in the Supreme Court, but they won’t get to the Supreme Court unless you can convince four members of the court that a fifth member would go with them to uphold the heartbeat bill.”Attorney Steven Aden, Americans United for Life
Heartbeat Bills Are Keeping Abortion Legal
Heartbeat bills are not only immoral and useless, like all incremental legislation, they are helping to keep abortion legal. We cannot pass an abolition bill when a Heartbeat bill is available because legislators will always choose the easier bill.
“If you offer a politician something less to do than what is needed and necessary – he’ll take it every time! This is huge. I realized this after watching it played out before my eyes by politicians and pro-life organizations countless times. I realized that if I continue to offer politicians something less than total abolition, we will never see this killing outlawed because the politicians will just keep taking the less that I offer. And as long as we continue to do this – we will see yet another 46 years of this bloodshed.”Pastor Matt Trewhella
Finally, you must ask yourself why pro-life organizations and pro-life legislators continue to push forward these worthless bills that are accomplishing nothing. The reasons are 1) the pro-life movement isn’t Christian and is actively working against abolition, 2) promoting these bills brings in donations and votes and keeps the pro-life hamster wheel turning, and 3) some are just ignorant of the facts and/or their duties before God.
It is our duty as Christians to expose the first 2 reasons and reverse the last reason through education. Become an abolitionist.
Heartbeat bills have passed in North Dakota, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Ohio. NONE are in effect. Heartbeat bills have been introduced in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Hampshire in 2020…(to be updated).
If you haven’t already, please watch this amazing Christian documentary on the pro-life movement.