The state of Arkansas is on the move when it comes to defending the unborn and setting up the prospects for an eventual Supreme Court showdown that could drastically weaken or overturn Roe vs. Wade. The Arkansas state Senate has passed a bill that would protect human life at the point from which a heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound. If the bill passes the Arkansas House and is signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe, it would in practice protect society’s most innocent from the 12-week point forward.
Opponents have reacted predictably. They have denounced the bill on the grounds that detecting a heartbeat requires a vaginal probe. The same political movement perfectly willing to finance a “procedure” as invasive as abortion, suddenly expresses concern about invasiveness when it comes to detecting a heartbeat.
Could it be that opponents are really concerned that as more women realize that their “fetus” really has a live, beating heart, the public support for legalized abortion is going to decrease? Abortion means big money to Planned Parenthood and a lot of votes for left-wing candidates. Money and power have a way of turning people’s heads, but a real live beating heart can turn them right back.
The political intrigue at this point lies in what the governor will do if the bill reaches his desk. Beebe is a Democrat, although a southern Democrat without dreams of going national is reasonably likely to support pro-life legislation (to date, Beebe has no discernible record). Bill Clinton did until he put his eye on the White House. Beebe has also expressed concern though, about whether such a law would stand up before the Supreme Court.
Beebe’s concerns are not unreasonable and it’s the conundrum the pro-life movement faces. On the one hand, it’s a moral imperative to pass laws protecting the unborn and continually offer the Supreme Court chances to modify or reverse its horrific error of January 1973.
On the other hand, an individual state does have the financial responsibility for supporting the long litigation process. It’s here that the pro-life commitment of so many attorneys nationwide has proved invaluable, and they can be so again in this case. The people of Arkansas should not have to shoulder the financial burden alone and a clear demonstration of national pro-life legal support for the state would remove this as a concern/excuse for Beebe and make him sign or veto the law on its merits.
Last week, I noted in this space that the singer Beyonce, who performed at the Super Bowl, recalled her miscarriage and how she could hear the beating heart of her unborn child. Now the Arkansas state legislature is moving on a path to undergird that reality in law. The water-carriers of the abortion industry can shout and scream, all the want—in the end, nothing shouts louder than a child’s beating heart.
Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com