UPDATE, 5/19/21: Governor Greg Abbott has signed the Texas Heartbeat Act into law. An email from Texas Right to Life noted, “The Texas Heartbeat Act (SB 8 authored by Senator Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler, and Representative Shelby Slawson, R-Stephenville) is the first Pro-Life Priority Bill this legislative session to pass both chambers and be signed into law. When the Texas Heartbeat Act takes effect on September 1, all elective abortions after the preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable will be prohibited.”
The heartbeat bill is now LAW in the Lone Star State.
This bill ensures the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 19, 2021
5/13/21: According to Texas Right to Life, the Texas Senate passed the Texas Heartbeat Act by a vote of 18-12 on Thursday and it will now head to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
The Act aims to outlaw elective abortions as early as six weeks when a preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable. (The human heart begins to beat between 16 and 22 days of life after fertilization.) If signed into law as expected, it would go into effect on September 1, 2021. Texas Right to Life called the Act “the strongest pro-life bill to ever reach the Texas House floor.”
Though the law does not include punishments for women who undergo abortions after a heartbeat is detected in their child, it does allow private citizens to file lawsuits against a doctor that commits an abortion on such a child.
“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest Pro-Life bill passed by the Legislature since Roe v. Wade and will save thousands of lives,” said Texas Right to Life Senior Legislative Associate Rebecca Parma. “This is a historic day and now is the time to build on our momentum. State lawmakers must use the remaining weeks of session to pass additional life-saving legislation like the Texas Abolition Strategy and the Respecting Texas Patients’ Right to Life Act.”
A recent poll of 1200 registered voters by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune revealed that 49% of Texas voters support a ban on abortions after six weeks, except in the cases of a medical emergency. (Read here why the deliberate killing of any preborn child is never medically necessary.)
The poll also found that about a third of Texans would support an outright ban on abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in the U.S, is overturned.
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