Gov. Greg Abbott has signed The Texas Heartbeat Act. Here’s why it matters
Texas Republicans have enacted one of the country’s most restrictive abortions laws, preventing nearly all abortions after a fetus’ heartbeat is detected
The new law is “one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country,” Austin’s KXAN reported, and is more limiting than a Mississippi abortion law the Supreme Court of the United States decided to hear earlier this week.
“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Abbott said moments before signing the legislation Wednesday. The Texas governor thanked lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — and anti-abortion groups for making sure the bill was passed, according to a video of bill signing Abbott posted to Twitter.
State Republican lawmakers shepherded the bill to Abbott’s desk, with one Senate Democrat and two House Democrats voting in favor of the abortion law, reported KXAN.
The heartbeat bill is now LAW in the Lone Star State.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 19, 2021
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
What’s in Texas’ new ‘heartbeat’ abortion law?
The Texas Heartbeat Act, or state Senate Bill 8, outlaws abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, The Texas Tribune reported.
- The “heartbeat” law doesn’t identify a timeframe when abortions are no long legal in Texas, but “fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy” and “in many instances, women don’t even know they are pregnant at that time,” according to KXAN.
- The law also applies to pregnancies that are the result of rape, but medical emergencies are an exception, according to The Texas Tribune.
- “Instead of having the government enforce the law, the bill turns the reins over to private citizens — who are newly empowered to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected,” reported The Texas Tribune. “The person would not have to be connected to someone who had an abortion or to a provider to sue.”