Texas has become the latest and largest state to enact a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually at around six weeks gestation. “Our Creator endowed us with the right to life,” Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott proclaimed as he signed the Senate Bill 8 into law. “Yet, millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we want to save those lives.” Slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, Senate Bill 8 states that “a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child.” Physicians are also prohibited from performing an abortion if they failed to perform an ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat.
The bill also allows individuals to take civil action against an abortionist who “performs or induces an abortion” and any person who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of abortion through insurance or otherwise.” At the signing ceremony, Abbott praised the Texas Legislature for crafting a bipartisan bill “that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.” The governor also thanked the Legislature, singling out the bill’s authors, Sen. Bryan Hughes and Rep. Shelby Slawson. In addition, he expressed gratitude for the pro-life groups who “worked tirelessly during the course of the session to ensure this bill got passed,” thanking them for “everything they do to cultivate a culture of life in Texas.”
The crowd gathered around Abbott erupted into cheers and applause after he signed the bill. After he declared that “the Texas heartbeat bill is now law in the Lone Star State,” more cheers and applause broke out. Senate Bill 8 passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 83–64 and the Texas Senate approved the measure, with House amendments, by a vote of 18–13. In both chambers, one Democrat broke from his party to support the legislation, which no Republican opposed. Pro-life groups quickly praised Abbott for signing Senate Bill 8, with Texas Right to Life predicting that the measure will “save thousands of lives,” characterizing it as “a vital step in the road to abolishing all abortions in Texas.”
While praising the legislation as a “landmark victory,” the pro-life advocacy group urged the state Legislature to embrace additional pro-life measures before the legislative session concludes. Meanwhile, pro-abortion groups slammed the measure and vowed to fight it. Alexis McGill Johnson, the president of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U.S., described Senate Bill 8 as “cruel and extreme.” Johnson expressed particular concern that the bill includes “a dangerous provision that allows anyone from any state to sue an abortion provider and others who help someone get care.” She cited the law as proof that “access to abortion has never been more at risk,” promising that “we’re going to fight back like hell.”
Heartbeat bills have previously faced resistance from the judiciary in several states, including Mississippi, Georgia and Missouri. Abbott’s signing of Senate Bill 8 comes 2 days after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up a case involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. The case has major implications for the pro-life movement. Senate Bill 8 is one of several pro-life state laws signed into law so far this year. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released a report finding that more than 500 pro-life bills had been filed in the first 4 months of 2021, with 61 of those bills becoming law. In addition to the legislative action taking place at the state level, individual communities in Texas have taken steps to protect the right to life. Two dozen Texas cities have declared themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn,” completely outlawing abortion at the local level.
Source: Christian Post