February is often a time where people talk about the importance of healthy hearts, as we recognize American Heart Month. Our health community and scientists use this time to promote how vital it is to keep hearts beating, and we certainly agree.
The heartbeat is the medical measurement of life. After an unsuccessful attempt to save a patient from a medical emergency, a physician will say, "Being unable to detect a heartbeat, does anyone have any objections if this attempt to resuscitate the patient is discontinued?" If no one objects, resuscitation efforts stop. Sadly, life is no longer present, as indicated by the absence of a heartbeat.
Fetal medicine is an emerging field. Babies with abnormalities and illnesses are being treated in utero using a fetoscope. Babies born at 22- and even 20-weeks gestation are being treated in neonatal intensive care units and living to lead full, productive lives. In addition, scientists are currently seeking to develop an artificial placenta to make 10-week-old unborn babies viable. And thanks to scientific advances, we can also detect a heartbeat and listen to that beating sign of life between five and eight weeks of pregnancy.
If life ends when the heart stops beating, it should be undeniable that there is life in the womb when we can detect a heartbeat. Popular opinion is changing as culture catches up to these scientific advances in fetal medicine. More and more people are realizing that unborn babies are indeed persons who shouldn't be murdered.
Our relentless passion for protecting life is why we have authored Wisconsin's version of a heartbeat bill. We believe detecting a fetal heartbeat is clear evidence that a baby's life exists in the womb. So, we must work together as a state to focus on saving the most vulnerable lives — the voiceless, the unborn.
Our heartbeat bill simply requires an abortion provider to test for a fetal heartbeat. If a baby's heartbeat is detected, it would prevent the physician from killing that child. It also uses a similar way to enforce this bill as the new law in Texas. Under the bill, citizens would be able to hold abortionists accountable through private lawsuits, a method of enforcement that the courts have upheld under the current Roe v. Wade legal framework.
We're doing everything we can to use our voices to protect the beating hearts of the unborn in Wisconsin with this bill. Since a similar law was enacted in Texas, more than 10,000 lives have been saved. We must start that good work here in Wisconsin as soon as possible.
Heartbeat bills have been signed into law in 13 states. This American Heart Month, Wisconsin ought to join them and start saving lives — now. Every heart matters, and abortion stops a beating heart. So, let's follow the science and recognize the unborn baby for the person he or she is.