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.
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 saraherdreich.com.