Pro-life advocates are celebrating Texas’ first-in-the-nation statewide “heartbeat bill,” placing sweeping restrictions on abortion, that was enacted at midnight on Wednesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, originally signed S.B. 8 into law in May before it finally became legally enforceable on Wednesday, Sept. 1, making the Lone Star state one of the most pro-life states in the country.
The new law bans abortion after six weeks of gestation, which is usually the age that a heartbeat is detectable in unborn babies. In addition to detecting a heartbeat, six weeks is typically when the nervous system, eyes, the brain and head, as well as the spinal cord are developed, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Amid opposition from the left, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on Thursday to reject a block on the bill protecting the lives of innocent babies.
As a result, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers reportedly abruptly stopped accepting abortion appointments past six weeks of pregnancy, in compliance with the new law.
In addition to protecting pre-born children from death by abortion, the bill allows Texans to sue abortion providers, clinics, or any other party involved in giving now-illegal abortions past six weeks of pregnancy. The law is also unique in the sense that it allows private citizens, and not the government, to help enforce the law.
There is only one exception when the state would allow an abortion and that is in the case of extremely rare “medical emergencies” that would threaten the life of the woman carrying the child in any way.
The new Texas law is the first statewide abortion ban in the country, which could pose a serious challenge to the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.
Pro-life advocates are content with the law, with some prominent leaders of the movement, including Abby Johnson who said on Wednesday that at least “150 babies will be saved every single day” in the state of Texas based on this legislation alone.
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, one of the biggest pro-life nonprofits in America, also celebrated the legislation. “Every child with a detectable heartbeat is legally protected from being killed by abortion,” she said. “Thinking of all the inestimably precious lives that will be spared today & their new lease on life.”
Contrasting the arguments provided by abortionist activists that this law will be “punishing” women for aborting babies, the Texas Right to Life group stated that “these lawsuits are not against the women,” rather, “the lawsuits would be against the individuals making money off of the abortion, the abortion industry itself. So this is not spy on your neighbor and see if they’re having an abortion.”
According to state data, Texas abortion clinics performed over 54,000 abortions last year alone. The law is expected to ban between 85-90% of abortions that are done after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas.
KHOU 11 reported that Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, stated “there are hundreds of non profit organizations, many of them funded by the state of Texas, who have been gearing up to increase availability of services for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy.”
The main reason behind the bill’s nickname is to point out the importance of protecting life with a beating heart, which scientifically indicates the presence of life. In the absence of one, hospitals determine it a sign of clinical death. Heartbeats are what makes someone human, and in America, human beings, according to the U.S. Constitution, reserve the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. The life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” Gov. Abbott declared in a bill signing ceremony that took place in May.
Although pro-choice activists are already filing lawsuits against the effective law, there is no doubt that the legal challenges presented will be an uphill battle and met with legal force. In the meantime, this piece of legislation remains a win for the pro-life movement that has been seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade since it was decided in 1973.