Advances in medicine and ultrasound technology have resulted in science supporting the efforts of the pro-life community, senators said Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing on Texas' heartbeat abortion ban.
"Science is on our side," Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is pro-life, said during the hearing.
The hearing was called by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), who is chairman of the committee and argued that the Texas law "flouts the Supreme Court's long-established precedent in Roe v. Wade and effectively bans nearly all abortions in Texas." The law, which went into effect Sept. 1, prohibits abortion if a scan detects an unborn baby's heartbeat. The law places enforcement power into the hands of private citizens via lawsuits.
Durbin asserted that the Supreme Court abused its power by not blocking the law. The hearing was titled "Texas' Unconstitutional Abortion Ban and the Role of the Shadow Docket."
"Constitutional rights for millions of Americans should not be stripped away in the dark of night, even at the Supreme Court," Durbin said.
Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Texas), who is pro-life, charged that the hearing was "part of a concerted effort" by Democrats "to intimidate and bully the members of the Supreme Court."
"Advances in medical science," he said, have boosted the pro-life cause. When Roe v. Wade was handed down, he said, viability was at 28 weeks. Now, it's at 24 weeks, he said. Further, "science tells us that an infant can feel pain" at 20 weeks, Cornyn said.
Blackburn also focused on the subject of science. Ultrasounds, she said, can change minds. Blackburn made the comments while questioning Texas state Rep. Donna Howard, a Democrat who opposes the Texas law.
"There are so many of my friends that used to say, 'Well, you know, I'm pro-choice.' And then their daughter or daughter-in-law has a sonogram – 3D," she said, referencing 3D ultrasounds. "They can see the images. They know if they're having a girl or a boy. And they began to make those plans. They began to decorate those nurseries. They celebrate this life, because they can see those features [in the baby]. And for me, it was a joyous moment. My second grandson – I looked at those features, and I thought, 'Oh my gosh, he's going to have my eyes.' And that is where science comes into play on this.
"... I do think we have to look at the fact that science is on our side on this."
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to take effect, although the majority also questioned its constitutionality. The high court said the law raised "complex and novel" legal issues and that the majority's opinion "in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts."
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.