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US bishops endorse heartbeat abortion ban, pro-life congressman announces

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WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has endorsed legislation that would ban most abortions in the U.S., according to the bill’s lead sponsor.

The Heartbeat Protection Act would require abortionists to first test whether a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and then forbid committing an abortion if the answer is “yes.” It allows an exception only for life-threatening physical circumstances (expressly rejecting exceptions for “psychological or emotional” health). Physicians who break the law would face up to five years in prison and/or a fine; women seeking abortions would not be punished.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Steve King, R-IA, said in an Oct. 12 article that the USCCB has signaled its support for the measure.

“I made a trip to Kansas City to discuss H.R. 490 with Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who will soon chair the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, and set up a phone discussion on ‘Heartbeat’ with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who agreed to speak with Cardinal Dolan, the current chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities,” King wrote in the National Catholic Register.

“Work and prayers do yield results,” he continued. “I can now announce the ‘Heartbeat Protection Act” has earned the endorsement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

King then quoted from a letter by Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.

“It is also due to scientific advances that we have the tools to hear the early heartbeat of the growing child,” Dolan wrote. “Accordingly, the Catholic Bishops applaud your efforts to recognize and protect these little ones in law while emphasizing that we need to continue to work for the protection of all lives-including those tiniest persons before a heartbeat is detectable.”

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the USCCB for comment, but did not receive a response by publication time.

King also used the op-ed to reiterate his case that the Heartbeat Protection Act, which he calls the “single most supported piece of pro-life legislation pending before the House” with 174 cosponsors, is designed to “directly challenge Roe v. Wade” now that President Donald Trump has appointed two new justices to the Supreme Court.

Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh’s exact views on abortion and Roe aren’t known, but pro-lifers hope they will help comprise a long-awaited majority to overturn the 1973 pro-abortion ruling and let Americans vote directly on pro-life laws.

“I believe it would give the Supreme Court a solid constitutional foundation to overturn the illogical, ill-founded and heartless Roe v. Wade decision,” King wrote. “For the first time in most of our adult lifetimes, we have a court that can be expected to constitutionally weigh the right to Life and deliver an objective, decision to protect the beating hearts of the innocent unborn.”

“A chorus of 60 million innocent heavenly voices, never heard in this world but heard beautifully and clearly in the next, plead with us to protect the lives of all innocents,” he concluded. “We are called to join our voices together to raise them in an anthem for Life. As St. James wrote, ‘If we fail to do that which we know is right, we have sinned.’”

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