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Tipsheet

EXCLUSIVE: RSC Comes Out in Support of Rep. Kelly’s Heartbeat Bill

Twitter, RepublicanStudy

With the U.S. Supreme looking to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) is forging ahead when it comes to encouraging its members to better protect life. Last month, at a meeting attended by Townhall, outside advocacy groups and members discussed talking points, narratives and legislation on the table. The RSC will also discuss these topics at their Wednesday luncheon.

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One such legislation discussed is Rep. Mike Kelly's (R-PA) Heartbeat Protection Act of 2021. Heritage Action's Executive Director Jessica Anderson, who spoke at last month's RSC meeting, discussed with Townhall earlier this month about how her organization is supporting the bill, and encourages members to sign on as sponsors. 

The RSC is now also officially throwing its support behind the legislation. Townhall exclusively received a statement from the steering committee, which unanimously adopted this position.

"The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has always fought against the radical abortion agenda of Congressional Democrats and their allies. This Congress, the RSC drew a line in the sand opposing their latest attempts to eliminate the long standing, previously bipartisan Hyde amendment and other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions, which prevent taxpayer funded abortions. The RSC also led the charge against Democrats’ latest radical efforts to institute taxpayer funded, abortion on demand in all 50 states up to the moment a baby is born," the statement began, drawing a distinction between Republican positions and priorities on abortion and those of the Democratic Party. 

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"In stark and resolute contrast to their radical agenda, the RSC is proud to formally endorse the Heartbeat Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), which would defend babies from being aborted once their fetal heartbeat has been detected. Furthermore, the RSC urges our Leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote by the whole House next year when Republicans return to the majority," the statement continues, looking ahead to when the Republican Party is in the majority. 

Last month's meeting discussed both what the Republican Party plans to do now when it's in the minority, which will involve the use of discharge petition to bring together Republican members and highlight Democratic extremism. The RSC is also looking to move full steam ahead when Republicans are in the majority, though. 

"This piece of legislation is just one important next step of many that should be taken as we look ahead to a post-Roe America. The RSC will continue to celebrate every opportunity to protect life, share science-backed truth of the humanity of unborn babies, and support unborn babies, mothers, and families in our communities as we fight for a culture of life in the U.S.," the statement concludes.

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According to the bill's text, the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2021 makes it illegal to perform an abortion when there is a detectable heartbeat or to perform it without first checking for a detectable heartbeat. The woman who obtains an abortion will not be criminalized for the procedure, but rather the physician who performs the illegal abortion. 

There are also exceptions for the life of the mother, carefully explained by one "that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions."

In a statement to Townhall, Rep. Kelly said "I want to thank Chairman Banks and the Republican Study Committee leadership for their endorsement of the Heartbeat Protection Act," Kelly said. "This legislation is the next step toward protecting the unborn and ensuring all little boys and little girls have a right to life. I look forward to working with the RSC and all of my Congressional colleagues to further advance this bill, which already has more than 100 co-sponsors."

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Currently, there are 109 co-sponsors.

Effective last September, Texas has had a state law in effect banning most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which takes place at about six weeks. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the law to go into effect, which has only been blocked briefly, as it's made its way through the courts. Other states, including Oklahoma, have followed suit. 

In their budget for fiscal year 2023, the RSC also communicated support for Rep. Kelly's bill and a bill from Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), the Life at Conception Act. As I recently covered, Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) filed a discharge petition last Friday to force a vote of Mooney's bill on the House floor. 

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