By STEVEN ERTELT
A Texas House committee has voted to pass legislation that would protect unborn babies from abortions once a heartbeat is detectable.
Three critical pro-life bills passed from the Texas House Committee on Public Health, chaired by Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). The life-saving bills passed from committee today included:
- HB 1515 Texas Heartbeat Act by Representative Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville), which prohibits abortions after the child’s heartbeat is detectable.
- HB 3218 Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA) by Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), which bans discriminatory abortions motivated by the preborn child’s sex, race, or suspected disability.
- HB 3760 The Texas Abolition Strategy Act (TAS) by Representative Oliverson (R-Houston), a three-in-one omnibus bill. The three provisions will take effect at different dates to ban discriminatory abortions, abortions after the heartbeat is detectable, and ultimately all elective abortions in Texas within four years.
The passage of the heartbeat abortion ban comes after the Texas Senate approved similar legislation. The heartbeat bill, state Senate Bill 8, passed on third reading late last month
Sponsored by state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, the bill would require abortionists to check for an unborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibit the abortion if it is detected. It would create criminal penalties for abortionists who violate the measure.
“This bill says for the little baby inside her mother’s womb, if there is a heartbeat detected, that little baby will be protected,” Hughes said.
Among many others, Aly Fish and Rick Smith testified in support of the pro-life legislation.
Aly is a military veteran and mother. When Aly was pregnant, doctors stated her child wouldn’t survive and suggested she abort. Now, Aly’s daughter is one year old and even took her first steps outside the committee room that day! She urged the committee to pass the Texas Abolition Strategy, which, in part, would establish a network of support for parents in similar situations.
Rick Smith, better known as “Noah’s Dad,” consistently faced negativity when he and his wife learned their preborn son, Noah, had Down syndrome. The Smiths knew, however, that Noah’s life was a gift. Rick held 10-year-old Noah’s hand as he encouraged the committee to help other parents see the value of their preborn children with disabilities. “I wouldn’t change a single chromosome on him. If I had a time machine and could go back, I would do it all over again.”
Officials with Texas Right to Life supported the slate of pro-life bills.
“Texas plummeted in recent years to only the 20th Pro-Life state in the nation. This ranking represents thousands of lives that could have been saved and thousands of mothers who have been harmed by the abortion industry. For the sake of those women and their children, Texas must be bold at this pivotal time. These Pro-Life Priority Bills are our opportunity to lead the nation in overturning Roe v. Wade,” the pro-life group said. “Texas Right to Life applauds the representatives who voted in favor and Chairwoman Stephanie Klick for her leadership. We also thank Representatives Slawson, Oliverson, and Schaefer for authoring these life-saving bills.”
On the Senate side, State Sen. Eddie Lucio, a pro-life Democrat who Planned Parenthood attacked with a racist campaign last year, defended the legislation against criticism from other Democrats, according to the Morning News.
When state Sen. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas, slammed the bill as a “mockery,” Lucio responded: “For you to use the word mockery, it offends me… If anything, to stand for abortion really makes a mockery of the sanctity of life.”
Here’s more from the Chronicle:
Texas lawmakers are convinced they’ve engineered a bill that can withstand legal challenges.
Instead of the state enforcing the law, State Sen. Bryan Hughes said his bill will allow any Texan to file a civil suit against a doctor or any person who “aids and abets” a woman who gets an abortion after a heartbeat is detected in the fetus. So it would not be the state enforcing the abortion ban, a key sticking point in past abortion restrictions that federal courts have repeatedly found to be unconstitutional.
Instead, the Hughes bill leaves enforcement up to private citizens.
However, a spokesperson from the ACLU of Texas hinted that they will sue if the bill becomes law. The pro-abortion legal group slammed the bill as an unconstitutional infringement on women’s rights and a violation of civil rights in the Texas Constitution.
The other pro-life legislation that passed Monday includes a bill to ban abortions completely if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, another to prohibit abortion drugs from being delivered by mail, legislation to prohibit local governments from funding abortions and abortion-related activities with taxpayer dollars, a bill to prohibit abortions for fetal anomalies after 20 weeks, another to require a third party to offer informed consent and resources to mothers seeking abortions, and a multi-action pro-life bill that would, among other life-saving measures, ban abortions after six weeks when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable.
A number of states have passed heartbeat laws in recent years, but all have been banned from enforcing them due to legal challenges by abortion activist groups. States with heartbeat laws include Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Tennessee. South Carolina also passed a heartbeat law in February.
Americans support strong limits on abortion. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
Though a majority of the justices are Republican appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts has sided with the liberal justices on a number of occasions.
In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.