Abbott signs heartbeat bill into law, Allred says ‘radical law is an embarrassment to our state’


Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law Senate Bill 8, commonly known as the “heartbeat bill,” that bans abortions after as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. 

The legislation, which was mostly Republican supported, also allows for private citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers that “aid and abet” in violation of the new law, The Texas Tribune reported.

Opposition by many Democrats and doctors, who circulated letters, said the measure’s broad language could open up harassment and lawsuits against abortion providers, rape crisis counselors, nurses and staff, The Texas Tribune reported.

“This unconstitutional and radical law is an embarrassment to our state that cannot stand. Dozens of Texans just died in a statewide power outage and we have the highest uninsured rate in the country. We need real leadership not more attacks on women’s health,” U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) wrote in a tweet. 

USA Today reported that according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks gestation, or six weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period, not since the start of her pregnancy. 

“When you factor in the time it takes to confirm a pregnancy, consider your options and make a decision, schedule an appointment and comply with all the restrictions politicians have already put in place for patients and providers, a six-week ban essentially bans abortion outright,” Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said in a statement as reported by USA Today.

Abbott said the bill will only help to save the lives of millions of children. 

“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 a live video of the ceremony shared to Facebook, as reported by USA Today. “In Texas, we work to save those lives and that’s exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session.”

The bill also does not make exceptions to the new abortion law in terms of medical emergencies, but not in cases of rape or incest. The bill also does not allow for someone impregnated through rape or incest to sue an abortion provider, The Texas Tribune reported.

Abbott did support the measure during the 87th legislative session and pledged to sign the bill if it passed through the Senate, which he has since honored. 

Senate Bill 8 was sponsored by 90 Republicans and one Democrat. 

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