FRC President: ‘Congress Should Look at a Heartbeat Bill’

(CNS News) — When asked whether Congress should pass legislation banning abortion nationwide if Republicans win the midterm elections, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins suggested that Congress instead “look at heartbeat bill” because “when a child has a heartbeat, it has a life.”

On July 3, CNS News asked Perkins, “If Republicans win control of Congress in the midterm elections, should they pass legislation banning abortion nationwide?”

While Perkins wants to “continue to advance the sanctity of human life,” he said the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling that there is no constitutional right to an abortion leaves the issue of banning abortion up to the states rather than the federal government.

He replied, “I think we should continue to advance the sanctity of human life. What the Court did [in Dobbs] – the Court did not outlaw abortion, it didn’t declare the humanity of the unborn – it simply said this is a matter left to the states, and to the elected officials. It doesn’t say Congress still has the right to deal with this.”

Instead, Congress should consider a heartbeat bill that reflects “when a child has a heartbeat, it has a life,” Perkins said.


“I think Congress should look at a heartbeat bill,” he said. “That we begin to have that conversation about when a child has a heartbeat, it has a life. When something doesn’t have a heartbeat, it’s dead. When it has a heartbeat, it’s alive. So I think that’s something Congress should begin looking at, as other states take up their responsibility to protect life.”

The Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom, two pro-life organizations, hosted a nearly two-hour event on Sunday evening celebrating the Dobbs ruling.

Heartbeat bills ban abortion once an unborn child’s heartbeat is detected, usually as early as the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy.

Medical organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) say that the term “heartbeat” in heartbeat bills is “misleading language” that does not match the pregnancy’s stage, The Guardian reports.

“Pregnancy and fetal development are a continuum. What is interpreted as a heartbeat in these bills is actually electrically induced flickering of a portion of the fetal tissue that will become the heart as the embryo develops,” said Dr. Ted Anderson, president of ACOG.

Nine states total currently ban abortions in almost all cases – except if necessary to save the mother’s life – or after six weeks of pregnancy, according to Politico.

In 2021, Texas made headlines for its Heartbeat Act (SB 8), which authorized the public to sue physicians who “perform or induce” an abortion after detecting a fetal heartbeat, despite Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion nationwide.

Following the Dobbs ruling, the Texas Supreme Court outlawed abortions that are not necessary for saving the mother’s life.

The New York Times reported in 2019 that out of the nine states that passed bills limiting abortion, six states passed heartbeat bills: Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio.


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