UPDATED 9:55 AM PT – Friday, May 14, 2021
On Thursday, a new pro-life bill was passed through both chambers of the Texas State Legislature. In a win for pro-life advocates, the heartbeat bill is headed to the desk of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Abbott signaled he’s determined to sign the bill into law. If introduced, it would mean abortions performed after the detection of a fetal heartbeat would be banned. However, there would be no criminal repercussions.
Instead, the law would be enforced by private citizens, which would give them the ability to sue abortion providers and others who help a woman terminate a pregnancy. This would even include someone providing a ride to the abortion clinic.
The Texas Legislature PASSES the heartbeat bill.
It’s now on its way to my desk for signing.
Thank you to @SenBryanHughes & Rep. @ShelbySlawson for your leadership on this issue. #txlege pic.twitter.com/ZmJvoqJqXB
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 13, 2021
While the bill does not suggest a specific time frame, proponents say a heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks.
Critics such as Democrat State Rep. Donna Howard have argued that medical experts assert there is no fully developed heart at the point of gestation, but instead the sound referred to as a heartbeat is actually electrically induced flickering of fetal tissue.
The legislation only makes an exception for medical emergencies and does not include any exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
Despite pointing out that most women are often unaware they are even pregnant at six weeks, proponents are steadfast and have said that the baby is still a baby whether the mother is aware of it or not.
Georgia and Ohio have passed similar bills, but Texas’ heartbeat bill is likely to face legal challenges. Although, the authors of the legislation are confident the structure of the bill will make it harder to block.
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