Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D., Wash.) complained Republicans "conflate a heartbeat with a soul or with personhood" during an interview with Hill.TV about the national conversations over abortion legislation.
"I can tell you about a single heart cell, a myocardial cell, in a petri dish in a lab at the University of Washington that will beat," Schrier said during the Tuesday interview.
Schrier, the only female doctor serving in the House, went on to describe the science cited by supporters of so-called "heartbeat bills," which outlaw abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, as a "gimmick" pushed by pro-life advocates to increase support for the legislation.
Hill.TV host Buck Sexton then questioned Schrier on when she believes a fetus becomes a person.
"Congress needs to be out of that decision," Schrier responded.
Georgia, Louisiana, and Kentucky have all passed heartbeat bills in the past few months while more liberal states such as New York and Illinois have approved legislation expanding abortion rights in their respective states. The growing polarization of Republican and Democratic states over abortion has led to an increased national conversation among politicians, media figures, and business leaders.
Schrier has maintained a relatively low profile compared to other first-term congresswomen elected this past fall and currently serves on the Education and Labor Committee as well as the Agriculture Committee in the House. She became the first Democrat to represent Washington's 8th Congressional District after she defeated Republican state senator Dino Rossi in the 2018 midterm elections.