EXCLUSIVE: Steve King Calls on Leadership, Advocacy Groups to Protect Unborn with Heartbeat Bill

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Photo: Adelle Nazarian/Breitbart News

WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says House leadership and one very powerful pro-life group is posturing to prevent his anti-abortion “Heartbeat Bill” from passing in the House.

King introduced House Resolution 490, also known as the “Heartbeat Protection Act” or the Heartbeat Bill on the House floor early last year. The bill requires abortionists to check for the baby’s heartbeat before proceeding with abortion and restores legal protection to unborn children once it is detected.

“If a heartbeat can be detected, the baby is protected,” King told Breitbart News. “We know that a heartbeat is certain proof of a life. If a heart is beating, there’s a life. And it’s a human life.”

King said, “I’ve gone to work and drafted this bill and kept it clean and tight and compact and precise and legal. And with definitions that are understandable and defensible. … We have 170 co-sponsors on the heartbeat bill.” He has been wearing a heart-shaped pin with infant footprints on it on his lapel since he first introduced the Heartbeat Bill nearly one year ago.

“This bill has come further, faster than any other pro-life bill that has come before this Congress in the past nearly 45 years. Our goal was to, and remains, to get it to the floor of the House of Representatives for a debate and a vote on the March for Life date, which this year falls on January 19.”

On Friday, January 19, thousands will participate in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

“At least 95 percent of the babies that have a heartbeat that can be detected will be successfully born,” King told Breitbart News. “Our job is, we want to protect all human life. Human life begins at the moment of conception, and it needs to be protected until natural death. Human life is sacred in all of its forms.”

He also noted, “our Founding Fathers would have surely agreed [on this bill] and been in favor of life.”

A new Marist poll, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, released earlier this month reveals that more than 75 percent of Americans would restrict abortion to, at most, the first trimester of pregnancy.

However, there are challenges.

King said the difficulty he is having is that there are three identified, leading pro-life groups in the United States which should be on board – except for one, which has its own bill with a similar aim. He went on:

We’ve got a list of about 128 either pro-life groups or pro-life leaders, all of whom have signed on in support of the Heartbeat Bill. And so, when I looked down through that list, and I thought ‘who’s not on it?’ There’s only one, and it’s the National Right to Life. Some would say they, at least, used to be the preeminent pro-life group in the country. They’ve done a lot of good work. But they seem to be stuck in the ways of slow-motion incrementalism, being satisfied with a bill coming forward on January 19 which is the Born Alive Bill, rather than the Heartbeat Bill.

King explained that the “Born Alive Bill” states that it is illegal to kill the baby if it survives the abortion. “Well, I believe we already have a law against that,” referring to state laws against murder. He added:

There are incidents out there that are ghastly. If a baby survives an abortion and is born alive, [some clinics] might take the baby and set the baby off in a cold room and let the baby freeze to death or starve to death, and everybody [involved] essentially walks away, plugs their ears so they can’t hear that baby crying for mercy. And they come back later on, and if that baby’s dead, then that was their objective in the first place. I call that murder.

“We drafted this bill over a year ago with the idea in mind that we needed to get ahead of what was going to take place in our Supreme Court.” King said, “[and] we are positioned to do that, but if we are stalled off by a decision made by Republican leadership in the House, in tandem with the National Right to Life, then that slows down our agenda.”

In a written statement to Breitbart News, Tatiana Bergum, Deputy Press Secretary at National Right to Life, responded to King’s comments on the group’s lack of support for his Heartbeat Bill:

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias personally told Rep. King that we do not oppose his heartbeat legislation. We are focused on supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Born-Alive Infant Survivor Act, and the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act. We don’t understand why he is singling out National Right to Life for his unfair attacks when some other national pro-life groups have taken the same position.

King noted that President Donald Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch brings them one step closer to seeing this bill passed into law. “But we anticipate one or two more presidential appointments in the Supreme Court over the next three or more years.”

King concluded by saying, “It’s going to take us a little while but I think our timing is right if we move on January 19.” He added, “I think every baby is a miracle. And they are precious and they are gifts from God, and they are created in His image. And what kind of an affront could it be if we are going to let the most innocent among us get aborted?”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.