Idaho has become the latest US state to pass a law banning abortion after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected.
The legislation, which will protect an unborn child after about six weeks of pregnancy, is set to come into effect later this month.
After signing the Fetal Heartbeat Preborn Child Protection Act into law, Governor Brad Little said: “I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies.”
Under the new law it will be illegal to “perform an abortion on a pregnant woman when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.” However, abortion will still be permitted after this point in cases of medical emergency, rape or incest.
The Act acknowledges that the “life of each human being begins at fertilization and preborn children have interests in life, health, and well-being that should be protected”.
According to the legislation, a foetal heartbeat, which is normally detectable around six weeks, “presents a clearly identifiable” milestone, at which point the unborn child has a “greater than ninety-five percent chance of survival when carried to term”.
The new Idaho law was modelled on the Texas Heartbeat Act. According to data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, abortions dropped by nearly sixty per cent the month after the law passed in that state.
According to the report, 2,197 unborn babies were killed in September, compared to 5,404 the previous month.
At the time, Kimberlyn Schwartz of Texas Right to Life said her group would continue to monitor the situation to see “the long-term impact” of the Act, and that in the meantime they would “celebrate the lives being spared as a direct result of this life-saving law”.