Bills that would ban abortion if heartbeat, Down syndrome detected advance in Pa. Legislature

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania House Health Committee passed a package of abortion-related bills along party lines on Tuesday, one of which would ban abortion if a heartbeat is detected.

Central Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz is the prime sponsor of what’s called the “heartbeat bill.”

“It will require all physicians before proceeding with an abortion to determine if the baby has a heartbeat. If the baby has a heartbeat, the abortion cannot be performed,” she said. “An unborn baby’s heart begins to beat as soon as 21 days after conception, so this will save so many lives.”

Pittsburgh-area Democratic state Rep. Dan Frankel said abortion rights are in jeopardy.

“Pennsylvanians should pay close attention because the future of access to abortion has never been more at risk in Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s the first time we’re learning the real intent of these legislators when it comes to Pennsylvania women and pregnant people. The goal is to make abortion illegal.”

York County Republican state Rep. Kate Klunk is sponsoring another bill that would prohibit abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21, commonly known as Down syndrome.

“We need to stand up for those who do not have a voice here in Pennsylvania,” she said.

Frankel again opposed: “Without making a single move toward supporting families or helping them prepare for high-needs children, this committee will vote today to take away abortion rights for those who get this diagnosis.”

A third bill, which also moved out of committee, deals with the handling of fetal remains. It would require health care facilities to offer burial or cremation services after an abortion or miscarriage, though some argue those services are unnecessary.

According to a spokesperson, Gov. Tom Wolf believes Republicans are “playing politics around health choices,” and he plans to veto any “anti-choice legislation” that reaches his desk.

The three bills now move to consideration by the entire state House.