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Texas Enacts New Abortion Law

June 16th, 2021

Texas recently became the latest and largest state to prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Governor Abbott signed the Texas Heartbeat Act into law on May 19 and subsequently enacted a ban on abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, which is when a fetal heart can be detected. Texas joins at least 10 other states with fetal heartbeat bans but is notably the most populous state to pass such legislation.

The Texas heartbeat ban includes an exception for medical emergencies experienced by a mother and authorizes a person to initiate a civil lawsuit against someone who performs an abortion in violation of the law or who assists in the performance of such a procedure. The law is poised to become effective on September 1st.

Pending Supreme Court Abortion Decision

Governor Abbott signed the bill only two days after the Supreme Court announced that it would rule on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on abortions of unborn children whose gestational age is over 15 weeks. The measure is the most recent of many approved state regulations that create prohibitions on abortion at certain pregnancy stages.

In announcing that it would make a ruling about the Mississippi abortion ban, the Supreme Court justices stated that they would restrict their decisions to whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional. Viability for an unborn child or the ability to survive outside the womb is often considered to be several weeks after the limit placed by Mississippi’s law.

Other States with Heartbeat Bans

In signing the bill into law, Texas joins several other states including Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio, North Dakota, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Iowa, and Georgia in passing fetal heartbeat laws. Arkansas’ heartbeat regulation requires unborn children to be at least 12 weeks gestation before they are protected. Courts have currently blocked enforcement of the state’s heartbeat bans.

Before Texas passed this heartbeat ban, the United States was poised to pass the most anti-abortion regulations in a year. During the first four months of 2021, 13 states passed into law 61 abortion restrictions which include eight prohibitions on abortion.

Response to the Heartbeat Ban

Leaders in the Southern Baptist community positively responded to the Texas law. A spokesperson of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission expressed her thankfulness that Texas leaders are taking actions to protect vulnerable preborn children from abortion when a heartbeat is detected. An associate director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention stated that Governor Abbott’s signing of the heartbeat bill is a substantial victory.

Not everyone, however, has expressed support for this new measure. The President for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America referred to the regulation as cruel and extreme.

Continue Reading the Universal Life Church’s Blog

Abortion is one of the most hotly contested areas of religious rights, and the Universal Life Church’s blog focuses on documenting the most noteworthy abortion cases. We focus on describing matters in a way that examines both sides and which can be easily understood by readers.

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