TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Heartbeat Act is at the center of nation-wide controversy as Texas urges the Biden administration and Supreme Court to leave the abortion law in place.
The Heartbeat Act was signed by Governor Greg Abbott, and it took effect less than two months ago. The law was sponsored by State Senator Bryan Hughes, and the legality of the legislation has been battled in the courts.
“So far we’ve been sued by the Biden administration, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Satanic temple. I’ve got a stack of lawsuits on my desk,” said Hughes.
The Texas law bans abortions starting approximately six weeks into a pregnancy, and it is enforced through civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a person get an abortion.
The Justice Department said the law is unconstitutional, but Hughes mentioned it is in place to save lives and support expecting mothers by showing them other options.
“We increased funding to 100 million dollars for that program to help mothers who are facing difficult pregnancies, (and are) not sure what to do, so tangible help,” said the state senator.
This includes money for baby products like diapers and other support such as parenting classes.
Hughes added, it normally takes a case three or four years to make it all the way to the Supreme Court, but he welcomes the judicial process.
“The Supreme Court, ever since the 1980’s has been chipping away at Roe v. Wade, limiting that ruling and giving more states authority to protect little unborn babies. So, that’s going to continue. This is based on the Constitution, based on the law. We knew this would be challenged in court,” said Hughes.
While the Heartbeat Act made its way in the courts, the work continued in Austin for state law makers.
On Tuesday, they wrapped up a third special session and their fourth meeting overall.
One of the main accomplishments was the distribution of federal COVID-19 relief money, and a large portion of this is coming to East Texas.
“We’re going to see some of that money coming back here for higher (education), for UT, for the UT health Science Center,” said Hughes.
The money is also going towards healthcare and will be used in rural East Texas hospitals.
A tax cut could also be coming to Texas homeowners.
“When we have a budget surplus, we need to take that surplus and first of all think about the taxpayers,” added Hughes.
The tax cut will be an option on the ballot next year.
When it comes to the new congressional map for the state, the state senator stated the changes reflect the Texas population.