Fetal heartbeat abortion ban closer to becoming law in Texas

Abortions after six weeks may be banned in Texas if the House approves Senate Bill 8, dubbed the ‘heartbeat’ bill, and Governor Greg Abbott signs it.

S.B 8 bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected without specifying a specific timeframe. A Legislative analysis determined that can be as early as six weeks. It would allow any private citizen to sue abortion providers or anybody who knowingly “aids or abets” an abortion. Included is an exception if the life of the mother is in danger but doesn’t include an exception for rape or incest.

Abbott made it clear he would sign the bill, spearheaded by State Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Shelby Slawson.

A group of over 200 Texan physicians sent a letter expressing their opposition to the bill, saying it will put physicians “at risk of frivolous lawsuits that threaten our ability to provide healthcare in Texas.”

“For far too long, abortion has meant the end of a beating heart, but through this –– The Texas Heartbeat Act –– that beautiful melody of a beating heart will mean the protection of those innocent unborn lives in Texas,” Rep. Slawson said during debate on the House Floor.

The proposed law comes as multiple states have proposed similar bills to limit the availability of abortions. Last week, Idaho’s Governor Brad Little signed H.B. 366, banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Under H.B. 366, licensed health care providers who perform abortions in violation of the bill will be charged with a felony punishable by a prison sentence of two to five years.

“Hundreds and hundreds of babies lose their lives every year in Idaho due to abortion, an absolute tragedy. I appreciate Idaho lawmakers for continuing to protect lives by passing this important legislation, and I am proud to sign the bill into law today,” Little said in a statement.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed three bills aimed at restricting abortion access in his state.

“I’m keeping my promise to sign all pro-life legislation,” Stitt tweeted. “We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn! HB 2441, HB 1904, and HB 1102.”

H.B. 2441 prohibits the performance of an abortion without first determining whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat. In the event that a heartbeat is detected, an abortion would be prohibited unless the health or life of the mother were at risk.

H.B. 1102 makes it illegal to perform an abortion unless the procedure is performed to prevent the mother’s death or significant physical impairment. Violation could cause one’s medical license to be suspended.

The third abortion bill, H.B. 1904, requires those performing abortions in Oklahoma to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology.