AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law the so called heartbeat bill that makes abortions illegal once a 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,” Abbott said during the signing ceremony “In Texas, we work to save those lives and that’s exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session.”
The bill was sponsored in the Texas Senate by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, and Rep. Shelby Slawson, R-Stephenville, passed 18 to 12, said a staff member in the senator’s Austin office
The passage was praised by Texas Right to Life Senior Legislative Associate Rebecca Parma. “The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest Pro-Life bill passed by the Legislature since Roe v. Wade and will save thousands of lives. This is a historic day and now is the time to build on our momentum,” she said.
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The law abolishes elective abortions as early as six weeks, when the preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable using methods according to standard medical practice. The policy would take effect on Sept. 1, 2021.
The Texas Heartbeat Act is novel in approach, allowing for citizens to hold abortionists accountable through private lawsuits, said Texas Right to Life.
The bill’s opponents said that it could open the door to harassing or frivolous lawsuits that could have a “chilling effect” on abortion providers and leave rape crisis counselors, nurses and clinic staff.
The bill makes an exception allowing for abortions in the case of a medical emergency but not for rape or incest. A person who impregnated someone through rape or incest could not sue.
The Texas Tribune contributed to his report.
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