A Texas law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected is taking effect today after the Supreme Court chose not to block the legislation, making it what one pro-life leader called “the strongest pro-life law in America.”
“Our Creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said when he signed the bill into law in May.
Under the law, abortions would only be permitted before a fetal heartbeat is detected, “which can occur as early as six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant,” The Hill reported.
“The law makes exception for medical emergencies,” it added.
Abortion providers had filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law from taking effect on its Sept. 1 scheduled date. Because the court did not act, the law is operative.
The application claimed the law would “immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85 percent of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close,” as The New York Times reported.
Pro-life leaders were enthusiastic.
“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest pro-life legislation to pass the Texas Legislature since Roe v. Wade,” Kim Schwartz of Texas Right to Life told the Texas Tribune, an online publication.
“This is a huge victory and could save thousands upon thousands of preborn babies. We look forward to the day that it’s going to be enforced — hopefully very soon,” she added.
“The strongest pro-life law in America is set to go into effect tomorrow in Texas. It would virtually ban abortions in the state and save the lives of thousands of children,” Live Action leader Lila Rose tweeted on Tuesday.
BREAKING: The strongest pro-life law in America is set to go into effect tomorrow in Texas. It would virtually ban abortions in the state and save the lives of thousands of children. https://t.co/a81hoBAds8
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) August 31, 2021
Pro-abortion forces had hoped to use the courts to stall the Texas law — also known as Senate Bill 8 — as they have in other states.
“Texas has a compelling interest in protecting its most vulnerable from death by abortion.”
Attorneys for the abortion providers Planned Parenthood Federation of American and Whole Woman’s Health claimed the law has created “chaos on the ground,” the Texas Tribune reported.
“We are still here and we are still fighting for abortion access in Texas,” Planned Parenthood Texas Votes tweeted Wednesday morning after the law went into effect.
— Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (@PPTXVotes) September 1, 2021
“In less than two days, Texas politicians will have effectively overturned Roe v. Wade,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement Monday.
“We have filed an emergency motion in the Supreme Court to block this law before clinics are forced to turn patients away. Patients will have to travel out of state – in the middle of a pandemic – to receive constitutionally guaranteed healthcare. And many will not have the means to do so. It’s cruel, unconscionable, and unlawful,” Northup added.
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