Heartbeat bill imposes undue burden

Saadia Akhtar

Just a few days ago Kentucky’s Legislature passed House Bill 2, a bill that would require abortion providers to provide an ultrasound to the mother, narrate said ultrasounds, and have the mother listen to the fetal heartbeat. The woman may look away from the ultrasound and may also ask for the sound of the heartbeat to be at a lower volume or turned off. Are women not capable of making decisions about their own body? 

Despite the many myths, abortion is not used as a form of birth control. The decision to have an abortion is a long and painful one. Women do not wake up one day and think, “I feel like getting an abortion today.” This bill does not protect women, or even the fetus—it undermines a woman’s free will. It implies that women are not capable of making decisions for themselves, so the state needs to intervene and force women to have an ultrasound narrated by their doctor.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the bill, saying it infringes upon first amendment rights. This bill, along with Senate Bill 5, have resurfaced the controversial Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice debate. In the 1973 Supreme Court Case, Roe v. Wade, abortion was made legal for women before the third trimester. A lesser known, equally important Supreme Court case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, reaffirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion, but said states could implement laws to protect women, as long as they did not place an “undue burden” on the woman. This ambiguous term has caused numerous states to pass bills like HB2 and others. However, HB2 does impose an undue burden on women; it makes them pay for an ultrasound they do not want and most likely do not need. 

This is the 21st century, and yet, politicians are still dictating women’s life decisions and coming between women and their doctors.

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