Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a fetal “heartbeat bill” which prohibits abortion in the state after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Generally, this occurs around six-weeks gestation.
Texas has joined a myriad of other states which have signed “heartbeat bills” into law, though it is now the largest state to do so.
However, the Texas law is a first-of-its-kind in that it “includes a unique provision that leaves enforcement to private citizens through lawsuits against abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.”
This strategy aims “to avoid legal challenges that have slowed the implementation of abortion restrictions. Abortion providers would typically file suit against the state to prevent such a law from taking effect, but as there is no state official enforcing the bill, there is no one to sue.”
Gov. Abbott streamed his signing of the bill live on Facebook.
“Our Creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet, millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives,” Gov. Abbott said just prior to signing the bill. “The Texas legislature … worked together on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that I’m about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.”
The legislation, Senate Bill 8 (SB8), also called the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” stipulates 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.” An exception is made for medical emergencies.
Human Coalition Action, an arm of one of the largest pro-life organizations in the country, attended the bill’s signing.
The coalition’s Texas Legislative Director Chelsey Youman said this about the event: “What an honor to witness Governor Abbott sign this historic heartbeat bill. The Legislature and Governor prioritized this historic legislation, and with his signature, approximately 50,000 precious human lives will be saved in Texas next year alone!”
Two weeks ago, Focus President Jim Daly met with Governor Abbott and spoke with him about SB8. After the meeting, Daly wrote on Facebook, “Great to meet with Texas Governor Greg Abbott today – a strong defender of the sanctity of life. The TX legislature is currently debating pro-life legislation. Governor Abbott told me, ‘I’ll sign any heartbeat bill they bring me.’ Thank you for your leadership Governor!”
Gov. Abbott has now fulfilled his promise.
Texas Values, a Focus-allied family policy council, also attended today’s bill signing. In a statement, Texas Values’ president Jonathan Saenz said, “The Texas Heartbeat law is very simple, if a heartbeat is detected, the baby must be protected. We are proud that Texas, Gov. Abbott, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are leading the way with the strongest heartbeat law in the country.”
“SB8 is designed to withstand the usual legal challenges and will protect babies in the womb from abortion,” Saenz added.
Every other heartbeat bill that has been signed into law has since been tied up in court, as they directly contradict Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey which prohibit states from limiting abortions pre-viability.
However, this week the nation’s highest court accepted a case out of Mississippi that could lead to the overturning of Roe. The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and concerns whether it is unconstitutional for Mississippi to prohibit abortion after 15-weeks gestation.
Sometime this fall, the court will hear arguments in that case to decide “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
This case presents the best opportunity in a generation for pro-life supporters to make significant headway to protect innocent, unborn life. Please be in prayer that the Supreme Court will decide to allow states to protect life. The Daily Citizen will keep you informed of important developments along the way.
You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler
Photo from Facebook