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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Friday, Iowa Rep. Steve King introduced a bill to prohibit abortions when a pre-born baby's heartbeat can be detected.

Pre-born babies' hearts begin to beat as early as 21 days after fertilization.

The Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 490) mandates that abortionists check for a fetal heartbeat before committing abortions. They may not commit an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The only exception to this law would be if a mother's life was in danger. The bill specifies that this does not include “psychological or emotional conditions.”

“A mother upon whom an abortion is performed may not be prosecuted” under this law, but abortionists would face a fine and/or up to five years in prison for knowingly committing an elective abortion when a fetal heartbeat was detectable.

“Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies' lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government,” said King. “My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”

“America was founded on the concept that our rights come from God,” continued King. “All human persons have a right to life. How then could we confer that those rights allow the killing of a baby? I believe our most important responsibility that God has bestowed upon us is to protect innocent human life, and I will continue to dedicate my life to that responsibility.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar bill after it passed the Ohio legislature.

Abortion activists are predictably decrying the legislation.

“Congressional Republicans feel emboldened by the dangerous abortion legislation making its way through the states and they know they have Trump's support,” Kate Black, a Vice President of the pro-abortion group EMILY's List, wrote in an email to supporters. “Republicans now feel like they have a shot at passing the most extreme anti-choice laws they can think of — and they might.”