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U.S. Congress Is Deliberating A Bill Banning Abortion From The Baby’s First Heartbeat

This “heartbeat bill” could prevent many women from having abortions before they even find out they’re pregnant.

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The Republicans introduced a bill into U.S. Congress titled “H.R.490 – Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017” in January of this year. Set to be deliberated at the beginning of November, if passed, it will effectively prevent many women from having abortions before they even find out they’re pregnant.

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The Heartbeat Protection Act strives to protect every heartbeat in existence, which includes those within the wombs of pregnant women. However, many women do not even know that they’re pregnant before a heartbeat can be detected, which means abortion would not be an option available to them.

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Think about it: What if you didn’t know you were pregnant until your next period, which could already be four weeks away? Heartbeats are often detected at the six week mark, meaning you have a “two weeks grace” period to go to your doctor, make an extremely important decision, and get a medical procedure performed, all within that 14-day timeframe.

Plus, many women experience irregular bleeding during the first trimester, so they may not even realize they’re pregnant within that six week period. So, you could essentially find out you’re pregnant and, even if it’s within the first trimester, be denied the right to have an abortion.

We have come a long way since the days in the U.S. when women (and other minority groups, and even many men, for that matter) couldn’t enjoy basic human rights, but it’s bills like these that threaten our legal freedom. Why should we have to base our decisions on the opinions of others, or be subjected to their judgement?

So, what is the “Heartbeat Bill,” and how could it affect abortion rates in the States?

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The Heartbeat Bill Could Ban Abortions Before Women Even Know They’re Pregnant

This Wednesday, November 1, Republicans will be holding the first hearing on a bill that would ban abortions after the six week mark, or whenever the heartbeat can be detected. There would be no exceptions for rape or incest, and physicians who break the law by performing abortions for their patients could go to jail for an astonishing five years.

“Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies’ lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government,” said Rep. Steve King, who is sponsoring the bill. “My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”

Sure, many unborn fetuses have never seen the outside world because of the abortion industry. However, the abortion industry has also helped many women (and men) who weren’t ready or simply didn’t want to be a parent, and has reduced the number of children living on the streets or in the foster care system.

Abortion is not as black and white as many people seem to think it is, and at the end of the day, it’s a very personal decision, one that women should never be scrutinized for. If many of the people who identify as “Republican” don’t support abortion, then that’s okay; but, they shouldn’t force others to share that opinion or strip women of the right to an abortion just because they don’t support them.

The term heartbeat in this context is also misleading. As Bustle explains it:

Although many people use the phrase “fetal heartbeat” in reference to this type of legislation, some physicians have argued that the term “fetal heartbeat” is misleading: While fetuses do exhibit cardiac activity at six weeks, this happens in something called the fetal pole, a millimeters-thick part of a fetus that bears little resemblance to a human heart, despite the colloquial use of the term “fetal heartbeat” to refer to it.

One could argue the Republicans are simply misleading the public by using this type of wording to play on their heartstrings, drawing inaccurate parallels between a fetus and a person. Encouragingly, however, most news outlets say it’s extremely unlikely that a bill like this would ever be passed at a national level.

Although heartbeat bills similar to this one have gained traction at a state level in the past, most of them weren’t this extreme, and very few ever passed. North Dakota and Arkansas were the first states to ever pass them in 2013, but Arkansas prevented abortion after 12 weeks, not 6.

Federal courts have also recognized that this bill directly violates the constitution and Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court in favour of abortion and purporting that women should have the right to make their own medical decisions. Other heartbeat bills have been proposed at the state level but most haven’t passed due to their controversy.

Given the fact that this particular bill is far more strict than most, as it would effectively prevent many women from having abortions after the six week mark, it is unlikely that it will be passed or supported by the American public.

Even if it is passed, despite odds being stacked against it, the fact of the matter is that most Americans are pro-choice. Pro-choice doesn’t necessarily mean pro-abortion, it just means you believe women should have the right to decide whether or not they want to have one.

Regardless of your own personal beliefs or lifestyle choices, we should not judge one another. Placing judgement on someone is simply a reflection of how you feel, and it says a lot more about you and your inner beliefs than it does about the person you’re judging.

If we’re placing judgement on another human being, then we’re not coming from a place of love or neutrality. Though it’s important to stand up for what you believe in and do what you feel is right, you can do so without stripping away the rights of other people.

If you are anti-abortion, then don’t have an abortion. Be the change you wish to see in the world, but don’t inflict your hatred and anger onto others and then expect they’ll make those changes with you.

Final Thoughts 

Though this bill is unlikely to pass, perhaps it will spark a conversation society so clearly needs to have. Abortion still incites much rage in many people, but we need to somehow work together, as a collective, to transmute that negativity and show a little more compassion for one another’s decisions.

Outside of abortion clinics, it’s not uncommon to see people holding signs covered with hateful words and expressing unkind sentiments to the people walking in. Can you imagine being a woman about to get an abortion, already a stressful and emotional experience, and you have to deal with the added stress of hateful protestors? Getting an abortion can be an extremely difficult decision for a woman to make, and we shouldn’t be making that experience even harder for her.

Perhaps this “heartbeat bill” will remind us that we all need to live a little more from our hearts and be more compassionate toward one another. Regardless of our personal opinions, it’s important that we all respect the choices each one of us makes, because we’re all on our own journeys.

You may not like the way someone is living their life, but at the end of the day, it’s their life to lead. Odds are that someone out there dislikes the way you’re living yours, but they’re probably not preventing you from living it the way you’d like to. With that, let’s all try to be a little more compassionate, and perhaps one day we won’t be debating controversial bills like these because they won’t even be proposed in the first place.

If you’re wondering what spiritual teachings, even outside of conventional religions, state about abortion, it used to be seen entirely as a negative thing because a life was “being taken.” This was a predominant perspective found in Buddhist and ancient Vedic teachings, for example. But the world has changed, and the wisdom has evolved with us. Even the Dalai Lama has said: “I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.”

This shift can be seen throughout many religions, as the veils that once separated us thin and more people become accepting of others. Even Christianity is evolving and adapting their belief systems regarding topics that used to be more controversial like abortion and sexual preference.

When it all comes down to it, we’re all living very different realities as each one of us lives out our human experience. There is no universal answer to whether or not abortion is right or wrong for each individual soul because each person is unique, and each situation differs greatly from one another.

As a result, we shouldn’t try to govern each other’s decisions pertaining to abortion, but rather support one another on our journeys. As the world evolves toward a more loving, peaceful state, it’s important that we learn to accept one another and the paths each soul takes, regardless of our own personal beliefs.

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Vancouver Council Votes Against Mandatory Mask Mandate: They’re Not Required

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vancouver, Canada will not have a required mask policy in civic facilities, and instead will simply recommend that people wear them.

  • Reflect On:

    Should governments recommend what they feel we should do and present the science instead of forcing certain measures on the population that many people and health professionals clearly disagree with?

What Happened: The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will not mandate masks inside city buildings and will “strongly encourage” people to wear them instead. This is a bold move as many cities across the globe have mandatory mask measures in place.

The proposal by Counc. Sarah Kirby-Yung, which would have required masks inside city buildings, was opposed by more than a dozen speakers who pleaded with the city council to vote against it.

“Please consider our forefathers fought for our freedom, and if we release that choice, it’s the first step towards a dictatorship,” said one speaker according to City News. “Masks are used as weapons and they have certainly been used as weapons against me and others to silence and marginalize us and it’s not fair.”

According to Coun. Christine Boyle, public health experts encourage wearing masks, but a mandatory policy is not needed.

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Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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Some South Korean Doctors & Politicians Call To Stop Flu Shots After 48 People Die

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, but health authorities in South Korea have found no link between the vaccine and the deaths.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the flu shot as safe as it's marketed to be?

What Happened: It’s that time of year and flu shot programs are rolling out across the globe. The number of South Koreans who have died after getting the flu shot has now risen to 48 and some South Korean doctors and politicians have called to stop flu shots as a result, according to Reuters. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has decided not to stop the program, and that flu vaccines would continue to be given and will reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics in the era of COVID-19.

Health authorities in South Korea have explained that they’ve found no direct link between these deaths and the shots. KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung said, “After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination programme since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering…the COVID-19 outbreaks.”

According to Reuters, “Some initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.”

The South Korean government is hopeful to vaccinate approximately 30 million of the country’s 54 million people.

Concerns Some People Have With The Flu Shot: One concern many people seem to have is the worry of a severe adverse reaction.

Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot.

Moss is one of many who believe that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it’s been marketed to be. For example,  A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

These are just a few examples out of many claiming that the flu shot has not really been effective, opposing others that claim it is.  Mercury that’s still present in some flu shots also seems to be a concern.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that more doctors are starting to be hesitant when it comes to recommending vaccines.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

This is no secret, and actions against mandates are being taken. The University of California was recently sued for making the flu shot mandatory. That trial will begin soon, and you can read more about it here, and find information regarding the claim that the flu shot can help in the times of COVID-19.

The Takeaway: We are living in an age of extreme censorship of information, no matter how credible or how much evidence is provided, information that goes against the grain always seems to receive a harsh backlash from mainstream media as well as social media outlets. Why is there a digital fact checker patrolling the internet? Should people not have the right to examine information openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?

As far as vaccines are concerned, despite the fact that there are many safety issues the scientific community  is bringing up, a push for vaccine mandates continues and the idea that we are protecting other people is usually the narrative that’s pushed hard. Vaccine skepticism is growing at a fast pace among people of all professions, and people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why more and more people are starting to question what we’ve been told for years, and those reasons should be acknowledged and openly discussed amongst people on both sides of the coin.

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