Dozens of members of Congress have banded together to introduce a new bill that would ban aboritons nationwide when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable at 6 weeks.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) re-introduced H.R. 175, “Heartbeat Protection Act,” legislation that would prohibit abortions when an unborn child’s heartbeat is detected. The bill, which Rep. Kelly previously introduced in the 117th Congress, is co-led by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Kat Cammack (R-FL) and has 62 original co-sponsors.

“Our founders understood that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are our most fundamental rights. First among these is life,” Rep. Kelly said. “The Heartbeat Protection Act ensures the most vulnerable among us have the same life-affirming protections that every other American enjoys. I’m proud to be leading this bill again with my good friends Chris Smith and Kat Cammack, and I am committed to working every day to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Children may be only 25% of our population, but they are 100% of our future.”

The Heartbeat Protection Act requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion. Any physician who performs an abortion without checking for a heartbeat or aborts a child with a detected heartbeat would be subject to criminal penalties

This restriction would not apply to abortions that are necessary to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape and incest. The Heartbeat Protection Act does not supersede existing life-affirming state laws but instead sets a minimum standard of unborn protection which states may go beyond should they choose. Women who obtain an abortion that violates this law would not be subject to prosecution.

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“Science has made the humanity of unborn children more visible and irrefutable than ever before as we now know that unborn babies have a functional and detectable beating heart at 6 weeks gestational age—and maybe even earlier,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “As society’s littlest patients, all unborn children deserve protection, not death by abortion. By prohibiting elective abortion after an unborn baby’s heart is detected, the Heartbeat Protection Act constitutes an important step toward replacing abortion violence with compassion and empathy for both women and their defenseless unborn children.”

“I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bill at the start of the 118th Congress,” said Rep. Kat Cammack, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “Our pro-life agenda is robust and includes numerous bills that affirm the importance of protecting the most vulnerable among us, and I’m grateful to Rep. Kelly and my colleagues for their leadership of this effort.”

Leading pro-life advocates declared their support for the bill.

“This compassionate proposal would protect children whose hearts are developed to the point that they already beat over one hundred times per minute in their mother’s womb,” said Jeanne F. Mancini, President, March for Life. “They, like all of us, deserve to be welcomed into life and protected by law.”

“Unborn children are as human as we are and deserve our care and protection. By six weeks, their hearts beat at an average rate of 110 beats per minute and will beat approximately 54 million times before birth. While lives are being saved thanks to the Dobbs victory, in states like California and New York, countless unborn babies and their mothers still suffer the violence of abortion,” said Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, SBA Pro-Life America’s vice president of government affairs. “We thank Reps. Mike Kelly, Kat Cammack and Chris Smith for reintroducing this humane legislation and are proud to support it. It is time we had a minimum federal standard, in line with science and compassion.”

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