The Amazing Talking Fetus of Ohio

Tomorrow, Ohio politicians will hear testimony concerning the so-called “heartbeat bill.” The AP reports that one of the legislative witnesses to appear before the state House Health Action Committee will be … a fetus

Yes, that’s right. A fetus. Faith2Action, the anti-choice group behind the bill, has scheduled a nine-week-old fetus as a legislative witness. Never mind that a nine-week-old fetus quite literally doesn’t have a voice – all Faith2Action is concerned with is its heartbeat. And so a pregnant woman will appear before the committee and have an ultrasound of her uterus projected on to a screen so that the heartbeat can be shown. In color, no less.

This whole plan smacks of some sort of Orwellian dystopia, or maybe it’s more Atwood-esque. On Faith2Action’s website, a press release trumpets this “witness” and calls the fetus the youngest ever to testify. Well, I guess that’s technically correct. In actuality, however, what will really be testifying is the woman carrying the child, being that a nine-week-old fetus can’t exactly survive outside of the womb. But hey, that’s just a minor detail, right up there with Faith2Action’s president crowing that for the first time in a hearing, legislators can hear and see a fetal heartbeat. Well, yes, this probably is the first time that a political hearing will resemble an obstetrics appointment. But I’m guessing that most of the legislators already know what a fetal heartbeat looks and sounds like – pretty much like their own heartbeats.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised at this stunt. If there’s one thing that anti-choicers have shown again and again, all they care about is the fetus. As far as they’re concerned, the woman carrying it is the one that doesn’t deserve a voice.

About Sarah:
Sarah's first book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, will be out March 2013. For more information, follow her on Twitter @saraherdreich, or check out


  1. This is seriously the most wackadoo thing that I have ever heard.

    • Luci Rhoton says:

      Although most, if not all, have heart the heart beat before, it is a pretty ingenious thing to do. More power to them.

  2. The sound of the ‘heartbeat’ is not actually the heart sounds. The sound is the computer generated approximation of the heart rate. The ultrasound machine sends a sound wave into the fetal heart, which bounces it back to the machine and the machine makes up a sound, based on an average of what the machine ‘hears’. So technically, the sound the jurors will hear is the mechanistic approximation (best guess) – man made sound of a fetal heart beat.

  3. Well, I guess this woman doesn’t care about privacy and the legislators don’t care about HIPPA.

  4. Oh my goodness. I laughed out loud reading this. I think that this quote really sums it up:

    “What will really be testifying is the woman carrying the child, being that a nine-week-old fetus can’t exactly survive outside of the womb.”

    In other words, you are really listening to the testimony of a woman. Not a fetus. So the woman should have the choice.

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