A federal appeals court has rejected a request from Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers to block the new Texas heartbeat bill, SB8, which goes into effect on September 1. The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans clears the way for private parties to sue abortionists for performing abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, which typically occurs between six- and eight-weeks’ gestation.
The law excludes abortions performed in the case of a “medical emergency.”
SB8 was signed into law in May, and it takes a different approach to eliminating abortion than previous laws. Instead of a government ban on abortions that utilizes state officials such as the attorney general or district attorneys to enforce, SB8 grants private citizens the right to sue an abortionist for performing an abortion in violation of the law.
Why is that important?
When abortionists sue to block a new law that allegedly violates the constitutional “right” to seek an abortion, as part of that legal process they must identify the persons who would be enforcing the law and ask a court to issue an injunction directly naming and ordering those persons not to enforce it.
Those persons are typically easy to identify – the governor, the attorney general, local district attorneys, and possibly certain public health officials. However, in the case of Texas’ new law, no identifiable defendant yet exists. An abortion seller will have to wait until it gets sued by a private citizen before it can raise a constitutional defense, and that is apparently too much of a risk for the abortion industry to accept.
“If this law is not blocked by September 1, abortion access in Texas will come to an abrupt stop,” Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents abortionists in the case, said in a statement, as reported by The Texas Tribune.
The Texas state law is similar to an ordinance passed by the Lubbock, Texas, city council that was challenged in court earlier this year. In that case, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood challenging the ordinance, ruling that the abortion seller lacked “standing” to sue the city in a federal court, and must resort to the Texas state courts if it wanted to pursue its claim.
The success of the Lubbock ordinance and the recent successes involving the state heartbeat bill have encouraged pro-lifers who typically watch as good laws designed to save lives are blocked by courts before they can even go into effect.
Unless another court immediately intervenes in the case involving the Texas heartbeat bill, including, possibly, the U.S. Supreme Court, babies could be saved in large numbers, beginning on September 1. LifeNews reports that the law could potentially save more than 100 babies every single day. In 2019, according to state health records, more than 56,600 preborn babies were aborted in Texas, and 85% of those occurred after six weeks of pregnancy.
Please pray for the continued success of the Texas effort to save preborn lives. Also, please pray for the success of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban coming before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall, in a case which has the potential of finally undoing Roe v. Wade.
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