Why I voted for ‘Heartbeat’ bill

Marty Harbin

I am sure you have seen in media headlines that the Georgia State Senate has passed the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, also known as the Heartbeat Bill. This legislation will protect the life of the unborn. After listening to hours of debate from colleagues on both sides of the issue, I would like to address why I voted in favor of life through House Bill 481.

First, the bill states that once a heartbeat has been detected from the unborn child, which is usually at about six weeks, that child’s life would not be allowed to be terminated. It was my responsibility to speak for them since they could not speak for themselves — to be their voice. Though I believe all lives are precious and valuable, there are provisions in this bill that would allow for exceptions. But many lives will be saved as a result of this vital legislation.

Everyone has a story, and many personal stories were shared by my colleagues in the Senate on Friday. I shared, as many of you may already know, that my wife and I have six children. It’s difficult to fully understand just how precious a life you help create is until you have experienced that first-hand.

But before holding this precious life, there must be time for growth and development. You hear the argument time and time again that cells in the womb should not count as a life, but I beg to differ. If you don’t agree that life begins at conception, there is no argument that life is present when a heart begins to beat. This heartbeat represents life. Through modern technology, we can now see this. We have the ability to see a child in the womb. It is for these children that I spoke.

Today and every day I choose life. I choose to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I believe that God has a plan for each of us, no matter our circumstances. He is faithful and He will prevail. He has taught us love and how to love. No child is unwanted, no person is unwanted, and I will continue to stand up for the rights of the unborn just as I stand up for the rights of all Georgians.

This isn’t an issue of taking a choice away; this is an issue of life and death. And by voting yes to House Bill 481, I choose life. My hope and prayer is that Georgia will be a state where life is cherished, children are valued and future generations are protected.

[Sen. Marty Harbin represents the 16th Senate District. He may be reached at 404-656-0078 or by email at marty.harbin@senate.ga.gov.]