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IPFS News Link • Pro-life/Pro Choice

Gov. Greg Abbott signs 'fetal heartbeat' bill banning most abortions in Texas

•, Madlin Mekelburg

The restriction puts Texas at the vanguard among states challenging the boundaries of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case that established a woman's legal right to an abortion.

Senate Bill 8, a priority for Republican state lawmakers, would allow virtually any private citizen to sue an abortion provider or others who "aid and abet" an abortion in violation of the new ban.

The bill sailed through the Senate and House, despite fervent opposition from Democrats. Flanked by Republican lawmakers in his Capitol office, Abbott made good on his promise to sign the bill at a ceremony that was closed to the media and broadcast on Facebook.

"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 before signing the bill. "In Texas, we work to save those lives, and that's exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session."

In 2020, the state reported about 53,000 abortions, according to data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The data show that the number of abortions performed in Texas annually has declined dramatically since 2001.

Abortion law effective Sept. 1

There is not a specific time frame tied to SB 8. 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 — according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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