• The San Juan Daily Star

Bill would outlaw abortion after fetal heartbeat becomes detectable

Project Dignity Rep. Lisie J. Burgos Muñiz

By John McPhaul

The Project Dignity (DP by its Spanish initials) minority leader in the island House of Representatives, Lisie J. Burgos Muñiz, filed House Bill (HB) 1084 on Monday in order to create the “Heartbeat of the Unborn in Puerto Rico Law,” which seeks to prohibit abortion once the heartbeat of the human being that develops in the womb is detected.

“In Puerto Rico there are human beings whose right to life is not yet recognized,” Burgos Muñiz said. “Surprisingly, the unborn are in the greatest state of vulnerability while developing in the maternal wombs. This place, which must be a cradle of life, has turned it into the most cruel sacrificial gallows. With my bill, I repudiate the murder of defenseless babies and reaffirm my commitment to the dignity of every human being.”

The fetal heartbeat has been recognized as one of the greatest indications of future pregnancy success, the lawmaker said. As confirmed by the “American Pregnancy Association,” once the fetal heartbeat is detected, the chances of a successful pregnancy range from 70% to 90%.

“It is contradictory that in the 21st century, although the absence of the heartbeat is accepted as an indicator of death, the heartbeat of an unborn is not accepted as an indicator of life,” Burgos Muñiz said. “While we believe and defend life from conception, we are limited by the precedents of the United States Supreme Court, in cases such as ‘Roe v. Wade’ and ‘Planned Parenthood v. Casey.’ We are hopeful that the new conservative composition of that judicial forum will revoke the aforementioned cases in the near future. In this way we will have a clear path to propose the total abolition of abortion. That is our goal.”

Regarding the requirements imposed on the medical class, the DP legislator added: “Upon approval of HB 1084, every doctor will be forced to perform an examination to detect the unborn’s heartbeat before performing an abortion.”

“If such an examination reveals that there is a heartbeat, the doctor will be prevented from performing the abortion procedure,” Burgos Muñiz said. “In addition, my bill ensures that, if an abortion is performed in contravention of its provisions, the physician will be liable for statutory damages of a minimum of $25,000. If it is understood that the damages are greater, the Court will be empowered to increase that amount.

Also in the legislation, “responsibility is imposed on hospitals, centers or clinics that allow or benefit financially from an abortion in contravention of what is established in the aforementioned bill,” said Burgos Muñiz, who chairs the Social Welfare, People with Disabilities and Older Adults Committee in the House.

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