Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a pro-life bill into law on Wednesday effectively banning abortions in the Lone Star State once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected.
“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,” Abbott said at the bill’s signing. “And that’s exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session. They 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 heartbeat bill is now LAW in the Lone Star State.
This bill ensures the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.
Thank you @SenBryanHughes, @ShelbySlawson, & #txlege for fighting for the lives of the unborn in Texas. pic.twitter.com/aolhUKM9tv
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 19, 2021
Under the new Texas Heartbeat Act, “a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman unless the physician has determined, in accordance with this section, whether the woman’s unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat,” which usually happens around six weeks gestation.
The law takes effect later this year and will allow Texans to sue abortion facilities or even individuals who assisted in getting an illegal abortion for a woman. While the statute exempts medical emergencies from the new restrictions, abortions in cases of rape or incest are still subject to the limitations presented in the heartbeat act.
During the legislative process, the bill was largely opposed by Democrats and pro-baby-killing groups. According to the Texas Tribune, “hundreds of lawmakers and doctors” sent letters opposing the legislation’s “broad legal language” over the possibility of lawsuits. National and state pro-life groups, however, celebrated the law as a victory that will help protect the lives of the unborn.
“We thank Governor Abbott and pro-life legislators in Texas for enacting a law that reveals the humanity of unborn children in the womb,” said Susan B. Anthony List State Policy Director Sue Liebel. “There is a groundswell of pro-life activity happening in state legislatures across the nation as lawmakers challenge the extreme status quo permitted by Roe: abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth. Since January, 536 pro-life bills have been introduced with more than 60 signed into law — a strong rebuke of the deeply unpopular abortion agenda being pursued by the Biden-Harris administration and their allies in the abortion lobby.”
Texas Right to Life told the Tribune the new law lets citizens hold abortion providers “accountable through private lawsuits” and provides a new avenue to protect life that has not been seized by other states.
“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest pro-life bill passed by the Legislature since Roe v. Wade,” said Rebecca Parma, the organization’s senior legislative associate.
Texas is now one of the 12 states that restrict abortions based on the detection of a heartbeat in the womb.