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U.S. Rep. Harris would back national 'heartbeat' abortion ban

Andy Harris.jpg
John Lee
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U.S. Rep. Andy Harris represents the first congressional district of Maryland which includes the Eastern Shore.

Maryland’s lone Republican congressman U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, who represents the first district, said he would support a national abortion ban if a fetus has a heartbeat.

If the legislation was passed by Congress, abortions after six weeks into a pregnancy would be illegal nationwide. The six week mark is often before many women know they might be pregnant.

Former Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans are raising the possibility of seeking a federal ban on abortion, following the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to strike down Roe v Wade.

When asked about a nationwide abortion ban, Harris said his vote would depend on the details of the bill.

“I’m on record,” Harris said. “I would support a heartbeat bill. I think we should protect infant lives after the heartbeat is detected.”

Medical experts have taken issue with the term “fetal heartbeat,” saying embryos haven’t developed a heart so early in a pregnancy.

Harris said no matter what may happen in Congress, for now abortion rights in Maryland remain the same.

“The important point is in Maryland, the law is exactly the same today as it was three days ago,” Harris said.

Heather Mizeur, one of the Democrats vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Harris in the fall, said in an interview Friday that the congressman wants to take away the abortion rights Marylanders currently have.

“Anti-choice politicians like Andy Harris are going to do everything they can to escalate this at the national level by implementing a ban that would take away the right that we still hold on to in the state of Maryland,” Mizeur said.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.
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