Texas House Passes Texas Heartbeat Bill

Today, the Texas House of Representatives voted for final passage (3rd reading) of the pro-life Texas Heartbeat Bill, SB 8 by Senator Bryan Hughes and Rep. Shelby Slawson, by a bipartisan vote of 83-64. SB 8 is now headed back to the Texas Senate for their final approval and then to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature. Rep. Shelby Slawson is serving in her first legislation session and has shown she is ready to lead on such an important issue. Gov. Greg Abbott has already stated three times in Twitter posts that he will sign the Texas Heartbeat bill.

“A heartbeat is a universal sign of life, and that’s why so many Texans believe that when a heartbeat of an unborn child is detected, that child should be protected. The Texas Heartbeat Bill is different than Heartbeat laws in others states, by relying on civil actions to enforce the law making it near impossible for the usual claims of a constitutional violation.” said Jonathan Saenz, president and attorney for Texas Values.

“Today is a great day for all future preborn children in Texas. The strongest pro-life bill in Texas history will soon be on the Governor’s desk. We are grateful the Legislature recognizes the importance of life.” said Mary Elizabeth Castle, Policy Advisor at Texas Values.

A heartbeat is a universal indicator of life and a key medical indicator that an unborn baby will reach live birth. SB 8 requires physicians to check for a baby’s heartbeat and inform the mother if the presence of a heartbeat is detected. Once a heartbeat is detected, the doctor must take all necessary steps to protect the life of the child. The bill also creates civil liability for a doctor that performs an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, and for aiding and abetting an abortion. SB 8 empowers citizens to file civil actions to enforce the Heartbeat law. SB 8 is different than other state Heartbeat laws as the government will not be in the position of enforcing the law making it nearly impossible for their to be a claim of an unconstitutional violation. The government must be the one enforcing the law for there to be a constitutional violation or a successful pre-enforcement challenge.

Since 2013 Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee have all signed into law a similar Heartbeat bill and Texas is about to be the next.

Supporters of the Texas Heartbeat bill include: Key groups supporting the Texas Heartbeat Bill: Texas Values, Human Coalition Action, Family Policy Alliance, Concerned Women for America (CWA) Texas, Texas Right to Life, Janet Porter (Faith 2 Action), Chairman Allen West (RPT), SBA List,  Texas Eagle Forum, ACLJ, Texas Teens for Life, Fredericksburg Tea Party, Texas Young Republicans, Baylor Bears for Life/Students for Life Action, Texas Pastor Council, Texas Faith & Freedom Coalition, Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of SBTC.

Key pro-life leaders supporting the Texas Heartbeat Bill: Abby Johnson, Gov. Greg Abbott, Dr. James Dobson, Ann Hettinger, Lauren Muzyka, Jason Jones, Kelly Shackelford, Janet Porter, Jonathan Saenz, Abortion survivors Gianna Jessen and Claire Culwell, Walter Weber, Pastor Frank Pomeroy, Tim Von Dohlen, Karen Garnett, Pastor Dave Welch, Jessica Colon, Tim Lambert.

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